KATATONIA's new album "Viva Emptiness" for sure is one of the most eagerly awaited of the year and "Ghosts Of The Sun" is a three track appetiser, which should wet the appetite of all Katatonians.
I personally mostly had lost interest in this band after their brilliant "Brave Murder Day" album in 1996, but thanks to the promo of "Ghosts Of The Sun" I now can check back into this band after almost seven years. I have to admit that I had not really listened to the last album "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" in depth, so I can not fully compare the evolution, but rather look at "Ghosts Of The Sun" from the perspective of an old fan, who is trying to re-discover this band.
The connections to the albums of old are faint only, because anno 2003 KATATONIA are almost pure Gothic Alternative Metal, with mostly clean vocals, guitars that sometimes take a big step back and rather modern rhythms and (human played) loops, but at the same time (with the exception of those calmer parts) the Swedes have added a good bit of heaviness to their songs again and as much as this normally is not my cup of tea, these melancholic compositions hold a certain appeal in their atmosphere and melodies, especially "Criminals" manages to capture my interest, with its measured tempo, shifting heaviness and vocal lines.
Something that "Ghosts Of The Sun" and "Evidence" do partly not manage, maybe because they show less of those very memorable melodies (even though there definitely is a whole bunch of melodies) or the atmosphere, which do sound different from "Criminals" and also what I was/am used from them. The title track, though, has some gruff vocals on offer, too, complementing the predominant clear voice, which adds some nice spice. And the more often I hear this song the more the magic contained unfolds I even go as far as to say that this one is brilliant!
Now looking back I can say that I like "Ghosts Of The Sun", yet if I actually can fully appreciate the sound as a whole yet, remains in question. It all is very catchy and damn good, but deep inside myself I still connect a different sound with this band… But if the whole album can continue where the single has left off, then I definitely will return into the circle of KATATONIA fans again! (Online March 28, 2003)