Katatonia was formed in 1991 by Anders Nyström and Jonas Renske & their debut album, ‘Dance of December Souls’, was released in 1993, gaining the band recognition for their eclectic brand of gothic doom/death metal & joining acts such as Paradise Lot & My Dying Bride as one of the genre’s defining bands. On future albums a newer, sleeker Katatonia sound came to the fore, starting with a streamlined & structured collection of melodic dark rock songs that became third album ‘Discouraged Ones’; the main evolution point for modern day Katatonia.
Peaceville Records had been following the band’s career from almost the beginning, & realising that Katatonia were perfect for their roster the label offered the band a long-term deal. Katatonia therefore set about working on their fourth studio album, Tonight's Decision. Tonight's Decision saw Katatonia back in Sunlight Studios & with strong international distribution now firmly in place via Peaceville, Katatonia saw their popularity soar to greater heights.
In the early summer of 2001 Katatonia released their fifth album, titled Last Fair Deal Gone Down, with a confidence and warmth about the band that added a new dynamic to the sound. Maybe this is due to the fact that Katatonia produced the album themselves; maybe it was the persuasive use of light and dark, used to illustrate perfectly the emotional gravitas of the songs, either way this was the album that made the whole world sit up and listen. The heartfelt vocal masterclass of Jonas Renkse underpinned by the genius guitar work of Anders, moving away from the early Paradise Lost-esque sound to an altogether more contemporary and modern approach.
The arctic light of April 2003 saw the release of Katatonia's sixth studio album to warm our frozen hearts. Titled Viva Emptiness, the album was recorded in the dark Swedish winter at Soundtrade Studios (part of the 301 group), Stockholm in October/November 2002. The release was supported by a full European headline tour with support from Daylight Dies & Finntroll.
In the dying light of 2005 and Katatonia delivered their brand new single, My Twin (a 4-track EP containing 3 exclusive tracks) and, shortly after, their decisive seventh full-length album, aptly titled The Great Cold Distance. The album was recorded in the summer of 2005 at Fascination Street Studios, Örebro, Sweden and was released early 2006 to universal acclaim. This was backed up soon afterwards by the release of follow-up single, 'Deliberation' and extensive touring throughout Europe in the Spring supported by label-mates Novembre and topped off with an American tour with Moonspell later on in the year, concluding a fantastic year for the band.
Katatonia gained great commercial & critical response to the album with many hailing it as the band's greatest work. Two more singles were lifted from the album (Deliberation & July) while both singles were also accompanied by video tracks. The band went from strength to strength with their extensive touring & festival duties before the release of Live Consternation in 2007, which captured the band live at their glorious best at the Summerbreeze festival in 2006. Katatonia would then resume writing for the eagerly awaited follow-up to The Great Cold Distance.
With such a monumental album to follow, it was 2009 before Katatonia was ready to enter the studio for their eagerly awaited eighth studio album, ‘Night is the New Day’. It was recorded throughout July 2009 & was co-produced, engineered and mixed by David Castillo. Recording was divided between Studio Mega ( for drums) and Ghost Ward Studios, where most recording took place & which provided a dose of inspiration from the darker corners of life with it’s choice of location, as Anders describes:
“Broken glass, blood on the walls at the front door to the building and threatening messages written on the elevator - Even excrement and urine on the floor in the basement that makes you wonder if the caretaker is a serial killer himself”
Mastering was completed at Fascination Street Studios (where ‘The Great Cold Distance’ was recorded) with Jens Bogren.
A continuation of the heaviness, depth & atmosphere of their previous album, ‘Night Is the New Day’ is also a more multi-dimensional effort - waltzing between prog moments, doom, folk & the classic melodic anthems that are the staple of Katatonia’s uncompromising sound, completed by the haunting tones of Jonas Renkse’s journeys of urban & emotional decay, & now joined by Frank Default on keyboards, notable for his work on the track ‘Unfurl’ from the ‘July’ EP - utilising his expertise to the fullest to texture the soundscapes.
Night is the New Day was released to universal acclaim in late 2009, & the band quickly embarked on a series of successful shows in support of the album, only to return for an even larger scaled sell-out tour in March 2010, this time to coincide with the release of the The Longest Year EP, with extra tracks & album remixes, plus the new Charlie Granberg-directed video of the title track.