Katatonia: The Fall Of Hearts

More beautiful sadness from the progressive/metal Swedes.

Katatonia The Fall Of Hearts album cover

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PR lines like “the bleakest of metaphysical winters” and “mankind’s inevitable demise” don’t exactly scream ‘party time!’. They do, however, indicate the kind of depth and gravitas at work in the brooding Swedes’ 10th studio album.

Beautifully, engrossingly, at times overwhelmingly depressing, The Fall Of Hearts revolves around one predominant, fairly bleak mood. It never really changes either, in keeping with their previous LP, 2012’s Dead End Kings. Happily, Jonas Renkse and co are masters at this sort of first-class melancholia, so the overall effect is transportive, rather than dull, the band stirring progressive, metal and darkly folky strains into one pensive, progressive stew.

Not that it’s devoid of dynamics, peppered as it is with orchestral touches, acoustic folk moments and well-placed metal crunch. Elsewhere, Sanction reaches a grandiose, Dream Theater-tinged scale, contrasting with softer, earthy tones in the likes of Shifts. More of the same, then, but for bleak Scandinavian beauty, Katatonia are still hard to beat.

Polly Glass
Deputy Editor, Classic Rock

Polly is deputy editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she writes and commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage), and has interviewed rock's biggest and newest names. She also contributes to Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. Elsewhere she's had work published in The Musician, delicious. magazine (opens in new tab) and others, and written biographies for various album campaigns. In a previous life as a women's magazine junior she interviewed Tracey Emin and Lily James – and wangled Rival Sons into the arts pages. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.