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 The stage was dark, with only the ambient blue lights methodically placed around the drum set, slightly illuminating the “Fallen Hearts of North America" tour logo on the backdrop and the kick drum. As the ambient intro plays, the Swedish melodic/goth/death/doom/metal pioneers make their way to the dimly lit stage, as the crowd cheers them on in excitement for a highly anticipated show. Katatonia has arrived in Seattle!

Leading the show off with one of the killer, eclectic songs off their new album “The Fall of Hearts”, the audience seemed well versed with the song “Last Song Before the Fade”, singing the choruses and vocal lines at the top of their lungs, whenever possible. I cant speak for everyone, but Katatonia is a band very close to my heart, and has been for quite a long time. Getting to cover/shoot this show was amazing. One of the only downfalls to shooting bands you love so much, is that you struggle between trying to capture the moment, and trying to ROCK OUT in the moment. It’s a fine balance….one that I had to walk carefully (considering I only get 3 songs to shoot) as they went into their 2nd song of the night. “Criminals”, an older song off the album ‘Viva Emptiness” was absolutely rocking, and a song that clearly everyone there really loved.

Sometimes with bands like Katatonia, who have been around for quite a long time, there can be a divide in the crowd when older songs are played. Bands come into peoples’ lives at different times, and people can tend latch on to certain eras of a band’s music…but this audience seemed to absolutely enjoy (and KNOW) most of the words and parts of songs, whether it was from an album 16 years ago, like the song “Teargas” that they played, off of 2001’s album “Last Fair Deal Gone Down”, or songs from their latest release, last year’s “The Fall of Hearts” (if you don't have it yet…shame on you…go BUY it, like, today!).

Katatonia’s music has always been very “vibey”. There’s an air of beauty and subtlety with their music (unless its one of those parts where the double bass is kicking and head banging is almost mandatory, like the song “Foresaker”), but the ambient blue and red lights really helped to set the mood of their music. With Jonas, Katatonia’s singer, typically in the shadows with his face barely visible through his long black hair, his beautiful, melodic voice sitting perfectly in the pocket of the music…it’s what any Katatonia fan would expect.

Katatonia Slideshow

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One thing that I DIDN’T expect, was some of the backing vocals. With Katatonia going through some lineup changes over the years, I don't think they could have done better in finding a new guitarist to contribute to those backing vocals. Roger Öjersson is about 12 feet tall, and absolutely SHREDS on the guitar. But what surprised me, and actually made me really smile, was hearing his backing vocals at the end of the song “Evidence”. Powerful…melodic…beautiful. Unexpected. It was a wonderful surprise to see/hear that.

Of course the original members Anders Nyström and Jonas Renske were well on point and captivating, as they have been any other time I’ve seen them, but the new members absolutely did Katatonia justice. With new drummer Daniel Moilanen and new bassist Niklas Sandin holding down the rhythm section…the pulse of the music was perfectly dark, ambient, and driving.

Katatonia played a well rounded mix of songs from their past 6 albums, closing with one of my personal favorites, “July”. Heavy, and beautiful! The place erupted. I’m sure that anyone there would have loved for them to play for another 2 hours (after having already played 18 songs). There is so much amazing music in Katatonia’s catalog, that I’m sure its very difficult for them to compose a set encompassing everything the fans would want to hear, but they did a stellar job, and it was a special night of beautiful music.

Katatonia has been a staple in the doom/melodic metal community, and anyone can see why. They are amazingly talented, and put out some of the best music around. And even more refreshing, is how absolutely humble, friendly, and thankful they are. They are a wonderful band, with amazing fans. We all look forward to whatever is next for Katatonia, and hope it’s not too long before getting to see them again.

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