Post Image
Album ReviewReviews

Katatonia – Sky Void of Stars

If you listen to the void, you will be able to hear incredible things. Once you think you’ve heard everything it has to offer, you will find something else that will draw you in even deeper. Welcome to Katatonia’s, Sky Void of Stars. Katatonia have covered a lot musical soundscapes in their 22 years of playing and now they take the very stars from the sky and leave us with a stellar album, filled with Jonas’ incredible voice and melodies behind him that will have you headbanging, swaying or singing along from start to finish.

Three years since the previous album, City of Burials, Sky Void of Stars follows a similar writing style and production. This album is just as crisp and clean as you would expect from these gents, with arrangements that just form and melt into another for a smooth journey that will have you questioning where some songs are left off or begin.

The first three singles, Birds, Austerity and Atrium are great choices for Sky Void of Stars, they all give elements of what to expect out of the album, giving a good overview to anyone who hasn’t listened to Katatonia before and are wanting just great songs to chuck on any prog rock playlist. Birds has a great bass driven verse section, I always fall for a good bass tone, it’s an incredibly melodic song that will hook you in from the get go. Atrium is a bit more poppy with a big chorus and open guitar playing, a bit more atmosphere about this song and Austerity being the album opener, it has everything a song needs bring its listener to focus, rock riff straight out of the gate, catchy vocal melodies and hints of things yet to come.

My personal favourite track was Colossal Shade, a heavy rock song that kicks in with a fair amount of melody as well. It plays on a duality of light and dark very well, you have a solid rock riff and drum beat that kicks in to a low heavy chugg pre chorus then into a big chorus with strong vocals that match each mood perfectly. I had this song on repeat quite a bit. Impermanence was another track that stood out to me, this track was maybe the most epic or cinematic sounding off the album. There was so much in this track that I had it on repeat to make sure I could hear everything. Guided by a slower guitar riff that dances between clean and distorted to then bring in an amazing guitar solo just adds to the flow of the album, a standout track for sure.

Speaking on duality, this album has an equal amount of both light and dark moments. You have a few heavy rock songs but then you also have your quieter, melodic songs like Drab Moon, with a slower pace that lets the drummer shine. This guy nails everything about this album, his drumming fits all moods. The more I listened, the more I found little cymbal or tom rolls that just get captured in the mix that make it all the more interesting. Dynamics are an integral part of this bands playing and overall sound. I can’t imagine a song that doesn’t have a flow or certain arrangement style to it.

This is such an easy album to just put on a rock out to. There’s enough here to keep you entertained from a background music vibe but then you get a hell of a lot more in the writing and playing when sitting there paying attention. I really hope there is a Katatonia tour on the horizon, two albums have now been released since they were here, and I would love to see these songs live. Go and check this album out now!

Read More
Post Image
Album ReviewReviews

Ville Valo – Neon Noir

It’s been 10 years since HIM released their last album Tears on Tape, I didn’t think it had been that long but Ville Valo, the king of Love Metal is back with his own album Neon Noir. After the heartbreaking news that HIM was calling it a day back in 2017, at least it was for me, I didn’t think I would hear music from one of my all-time favourite singers again but here we are, 2023 and goddamn it’s unreal to hear this guy’s voice on new music once more.

From start to finish, Neon Noir has all the hooks to get you singing, humming, or moving along, it’s something that Ville has always had a knack for, it’s rocky, it’s gothy, it’s soft in all the right places. I got a strange feeling from listening to this for the first time. I never expected to hear new music from Ville so it I had a sense of nostalgia from older albums but then excitement at the realisation this is new solo music, his own demon to control, this can go wherever He likes.

A big thing for me was the sound of this album. HIM albums had a doomy fuzz tone to them, a mix of Linde and Mige’s guitar and bass, Neon Noir is cleaner and crisper, it’s own sound. Yes, there is distortion still but it’s less Sabbathy in sound. The writing style is still the same or incredibly similar as to what He had been doing in the past but maybe more the arrangement of the album tracks is a new or different way of looking at things as it starts off more on the rock edge and then slowly makes its way to the moodier, goth sound with songs like Heartful of Ghosts.

My favourite track would be the title track, Neon Noir, I have been singing it non stop since hearing it. The main riff and the chorus are catchy as hell. This is one of the songs that have now been released on youtube with a film clip, alongside Loveletting and Echolocate your Love, which will also draw you in. I really enjoy seeing the released singles and then listening to the album to see what is the song that draws me in as a listener and the title track got me good!

This will be hard for Ville, whether he wants to break away from the HIM sound and create his very own thing or stay close by, he will have critics having a go from either side surely. Fans will either gravitate towards this because its so HIM like or they will dismiss it for the same reason, thinking he will do something completely different. I mean, still using the heartagram makes it pretty clear in the direction he wants to go but you know, people like to whine. I loved this album the whole way through and I’m excited to see what He does next with this project.

If you’re a lover of HIM or Goth n Roll, or just some catchy rock, then you will fall for this album just as hard as you did when you were 13 or 14. It has that sense of giving you nostalgia yet it’s something new to your ears as well.

Read More