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Katatonia is a Swedish metal band formed in 1991 by two friends in Stockholm. Since then, the band has moved through a variety of changes both musically and lyrically while maintaining their somber, depressive tone.
The principal men behind the band are vocalist Jonas Renkse and guitarist Anders "Blakkheim" Nyström. Usually Anders writes the bulk of the music and Jonas the lyrics.
They are good friends with Opeth.
The debut album displayed the themes of sadness and loss through a lot of mystical and grim imagery alongside with anti-religious statements. The mystical edge and satanic imagery disappeared alongside the pentagram logo on Discouraged Ones to be replaced with more introspective lyrics. Depression, loss and other dark themes remained. With Viva Emptiness more abstract lyrics came around and are now seemingly a staple.
Anders says they are a "happy sad band".
The current members are:
- Anders "Blakkheim" Nyström - guitar
- Jonas Renkse - vocals
- Daniel Liljekvist - drums
With live assistance from:
- Per "Sodimizer" Eriksson - guitar
- Niklas "Nille" Sandin - bass
Studio album discography:
- Dance of December Souls (1993)
- Brave Murder Day (1996)
- Discouraged Ones (1998)
- Tonight's Decision (1999)
- Last Fair Deal Gone Down (2001)
- Viva Emptiness (2003)
- The Great Cold Distance (2006)
- Night Is the New Day (2009)
- Dead End Kings (2012)
- A Good Name for a Rock Band: The name comes from catatonia, a psychological disorder associated with severe schizophrenia.
- Careful with That Axe
- Cannot Spit It Out: In "Wait Outside".
- Cover Version: They covered singer-songwriters Jeff Buckley and and Will Oldham.
- Despair Event Horizon: "Don't Tell a Soul", "Brave" and the list goes on...
- Downer Ending: Several songs, most notably the upbeat sounding "Omerta" in which the narrator is arguably poisoned
- Epic Rocking: "Velvet Thorns (Of Drynwhyl)" clocks 13:56 and "Tomb of Insomnia" 13:09
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Opeth's Mike provides the harsh vocals on Brave Murder Day.
- Mood Whiplash: Subverted with "Omerta". While it sounds like a upbeat alternative rock song in contrast to the rest of the album it really isn't.
- Murder Ballad: "Murder", obviously, and "We Must Bury You" and "Sweet Nurse". An abstract song about corpses on windmills, a bullying-turned-murder event and a case of euthanasia respectively
- Nightmare Fuel: Jonas' vocals on Dance of December Souls, especially on "Without God", will frighten anyone not used to metal screaming. And many lyrics.
- Paranoia Fuel: "Sleeper" and "Help Me Disappear".
- Precision F-Strike: Shows up a few times, most notably on the Dance of December Souls version of "Without God".
- Shout-Out: The album title Last Fair Deal Gone Down is a reference to a delta blues musician
- Take That: "Passing Bird" makes stabs at emo girls pretending to be depressed. Anyone seriously down would want to get better, not stay there to get attention.
- The End of the World as We Know It: "Endtime" has the world end in fire.
- Title Drop: "The Itch" contains the line "the great cold distance".
- Tear Jerker: Any lyrics, verging sometimes into Nightmare Fuel.
- True Art Is Angsty: Their lyrics focus, to quote the Metal Archives, on: Death, Depression, Suicide, Crime.
- Wild Mass Guessing: The inlay of the jewelcase versions of Viva Emptiness and The Great Cold Distance sparked a lot of discussion among the fans for featuring a snippet from an IM conversation and a cockroach respectively.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Especially on "The Great Cold Distance"