The new Katatonia album was easily one of my most anticipated releases for 2016. They’ve become one of my favorite bands as time as gone on. I was so nervous about “The Fall of Hearts” that I avoided listening to any of the songs released before the album was released. I wanted to hear it all together as one piece rather than just getting parts of it.
I am glad that I did that. This is potentially my favorite Katatonia album. Why? “The Fall of Hearts” is easily their most confident sounding album from start to finish. It showcases all facets of the band. It has heavier moments, some of their strongest melodies and even stripped down songs and parts.
The entire cycle that surrounded their last album “Dead End Kings” seems to have been almost like the experimenting needed for “The Fall of Hearts.” “Dead End Kings” was a dense album with so many layers, so it was amazing to hear it stripped down on “Dethroned & Uncrowned.” Even further than that was the live album “Sanctitude” which explored that area even further.
“The Fall of Hearts” has songs that could fit on each album. The heavier opener “Takeover” could fit on “Night Is the New Day,” while the stripped down “Pale Flag” clearly benefited from the band’s acoustic experiments. The dreamy “Shifts,” the prog epic “Serac” and big sound of “Last Song Before the Fade” are all favorites because they show that the band can push their sound even further.
Besides being their most progressive album, “The Fall of Hearts” also has some of the best melody lines that Jonas Renkse has ever sung. “Serein” is a perfect example. I think having to really open up his voice more on “Wisdom of Crowds” only benefited his vocal approach on this album.
The only criticism that I have is that there are bonus tracks that are exclusive to specific versions. This is Peaceville’s fault and not the band. I want EVERY song in one place!! How the fuck hard is it to do that?? Labels would rather fuck over loyal fans and I really hate that. The bottom line however is that “The Fall of Hearts” has been worth waiting for and it should be the album that pushes Katatonia to the forefront of dark progressive metal.
3. “Old Heart Falls”
8. “Last Song Before the Fade”
10. “The Night Subscriber”
11. “Pale Flag”