Katatonia - Night is the New Day (Peaceville/Stomp)

This is music for gliding through bleak, chilly woods at 3 am. Or staying at home and having a shovel. Either way it's pretty excellent.

As I write this, it’s tipping down with snow outside my window, and looking bleak and frostbitten in a pretty, delicate Dickensian way. Ideally I’d be out in my woolly gear, frolicking in the snow, making obscene snowmen, drinking lovely hot coffee with other people. But noooo. Not me. I’m a lazy shite, so I’m staying in with a can of lager, wandering around in boxer shorts. Fuck my life.

However! Good old Katatonia have sort of saved the day, as their windswept gloom is pretty adept at conveying a wintry, reflective atmosphere. A bit like Coldplay.

Haha! I jest. But seriously their latest opus Night is the New Day is a bit of a cracker. It opens with Forsaker, which starts up with some shuddering detuned nonsense redolent of Meshuggah. That’s where the comparisons end though, as instead of roaring like Lex Luthor doppelganger Jens Kidman, we’re treated to serene crooning. I must tell you, as a massive pussy, it’s nice to hear a singer in a metal band actually, y’know, singing. I’m all for ‘gurgle gurgle grargh’ stuff occasionally, but jesus, change the fucking record. Remember when singers actually used to have to sing, and needed a bit of talent to articulate their emotional pain, maaaaan? Now they can just belch into a microphone and fucking morons will lap it up like it’s poetry or something.

So Katatonia get points for a distinct lack of savage belching on this record. They get a shitload more points because the rest of the album is basically excellent. If you’ve never heard Katatonia before, they’re a bit like Opeth. Basically. Folk twinged plucking, chunky riffs and mid-paced rhythms are the order of the day, and they all combine to make a surprisingly engaging listen. Even Mikael Andraf… Andarf… Opeth man confessed that he thought Night Is The New Day was a masterpiece.

Whilst I wouldn’t go that far, there is much to enjoy on this moody, miserable CD. For my money it’s better than the most recent Opeth, as that band’s proclivities towards the progressive can get a little… dull. Katatonia keep things relatively short and sharp on the record, and it’s all the better for it.

Eleven songs whizz by in a relatively terse fifty minutes, but it’s so compulsive you’ll probably want to listen to it again. Seriously. It’s a fun listen for a doom album (so much better than the most recent offering by fellow gloomy cunts My Dying Bride. Zzzzzz) and the melodramatic vernacular on offer is fantastically dour. ‘You there! Bringer of my despair’ the singer croons (I’m too drunk to bother looking him up on Wikipedia), and by god, can we relate.

It’s pretty excellent. Perfect winter time listening. But Metal as Fuck is based in Australia and they don’t have winter in Australia at the moment so they’ll have to stick it on during a barbecue, or a beach party ,or in between bouts of Neighbours or something. Crikey shit! (No, I am not a racist.)

Katatonia's Night is the New Day is out now on Peaceville/Stomp.