Tuesday, September 21, 2010

0 SHOW PREVIEW: Katatonia, Swallow the Sun, Orphaned Land, Book of Black Earth, & Terra Morta @ El Corazon

When it comes to Katatonia, I missed the boat 12 years ago. It was 1998 and I had an online magazine, whose web address I am woeful to admit was almost as long as some of the articles I wrote, and the band's 3rd record, "Discouraged Ones", ended up in my mail box. The clean vocals turned me off and the slow, mid-tempo tunes were, well, just not br00tal enough, dude! In my defense, vocalist Jonas Renkse was not the force he is today and the band were still finding their sound as they transitioned out of the blackened metal they were recording on their two previous records.

So, yeah, I missed the boat.

The good news is, I revisited the band about 7 years later when their record "The Great Cold Distance" was released and I was blown away. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that my youthful optimism was long past its death throws and I had become a cynical old man but Katatonia finally made sense to me. "The Great Cold Distance" was a bleak, dark and technical record that tossed me around and, if sorrow had a sound, the band's vocalist was the best I had heard at translating it. However, among all that bleak and sorrow were some legitimate pop hooks and vocal melodies. Other blackened metal bands like Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride have taken a route similar to Katatonia but neither have been able to make such mournful and melancholy songs sound so catchy!

Katatonia is performing material from their lengthy catalog along with new songs from their latest record "Night in the New Day" on Tues, Sep 21st, at El Corazon along with Swallow the Sun, Orphaned Land, Book of Black Earth and Terra Morta.

Swallow the Sun is a Finnish metal band who embody a lot of the similarities of Katatonia though more plodding, blackened and doom heavy with harsh vocals. Swallow the Sun's latest record is called "New Moon" but the band's debut record, "The Morning Never Came", contains the song "Through Her Silvery Body", which is still my favorite by the band.

Orphaned Land is an Israeli band whose last two records, "Mabool" and the recently released "The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR", both of which are concept albums, are a combination of prog and black metal with folk music from their native land. If you're interested in hearing a diverse and intelligent take on the genre, Orphaned Land are as good a place to begin as any.

Opening the show will be the Seattle metal band Book of Black Earth and Tacoma's Terra Morta. It's not often I get to say this but all 5 bands on tonight's bill are worth showing up early and staying late for. A solid line up of quality metal!

Words by Roy Culver


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