What are the best Katatonia albums? Ranking Katatonia albums is hard: the band have covered many different styles (from death/doom metal to progressive and goth rock), and since they’re all very good. I’m pretty sure about the top three, as well as # 10, but it gets pretty damn tricky in the middle. What do you think? Please comment with your own list of the best Katatonia albums if I’m terribly off!
10. Dance of December Souls (1993)
While it’s an ambitious and original album for its time, it’s clear how young the guys were when they wrote and recorded this. There are some interesting riffs and melodies, but the songwriting doesn’t come close to other Katatonia albums. Check out my collaboration cover (also featuring Gustav from Ending Quest) of “Without God” below.
9. Discouraged Ones (1998)
Katatonia’s first try at clean vocals is a really dark, shoegaze-inspired rock album. It’s surprisingly mature and structured, considering the dramatic shift in style. The fact that an album as good as “Discouraged Ones” wound up in ninth place is a Testament to how good Katatonia is.
8. Viva Emptiness (2003)
A modern, urban-sounding album that marked Katatonia’s transition from 4/4 beats to more complex Tool-influenced alternative rock. The album that introduced me to Katatonia. Perhaps the Katatonia album where the less known songs triumph the most over the hits; my favorite tracks are “Complicity” and “Will I Arrive?”, next to “Criminals” from the hit category.
7. The Fall of Hearts (2016)
The latest Katatonia album is a sometimes bumpy ride, which took me a long time to get into. After finding the magic in strong songs like “Serac”, “Old Heart Falls” and “Passer”, the album grew into yet another favorite and my album of the year for 2016. Here on the site you can read my review of “The Fall of Hearts”.
6. The Great Cold Distance (2006)
I consider this least emotionally impactful Katatonia album, but it is still packed with great songs with almost endless replay value. “Consternation” is one of Katatonia’s most quirky and dynamic songs, “Rusted” brings out a sentimental feeling of coming spring, and “Journey Through Pressure” brings out a doom metal element that’s rarely present in modern Katatonia.
5. Dead End Kings (2012)
In many ways this is “Night is the New Day” light, but the songs are just too damn good to put it any lower than this position. “Hypnone”, “The Racing Heart” and “Dead Letters” became classics for me, and the two bonus tracks are breathtaking.
4. Tonight’s Decision (1999)
A very dark album packed with heavy 4/4 beats and basic, yet extremely memorable melodicism. “Right into the Bliss” is especially unforgettable, and ranks high on my top 10 best Katatonia songs list. The combination of hooks and strong emotional impact paved the way for what happened two years later on “Last Fair Deal Gone Down”.
3. Brave Murder Day (1996)
Genre-defining death/doom metal album that carved a niché entirely of its own. Still stands strong today thanks to its original approach. Many bands tried to copy it and failed. All six tracks are classics in my book, but the intro knockout of “Brave” and “Murder” stands out even more.
2. Last Fair Deal Gone Down (2001)
Probably my most played Katatonia over time, and the one I listened to the most during the period when I turned into a hardcore fan. It’s got setlist staples like “Teargas” and “Tonight’s Decision”. Even more important, it has some of Katatonia’s most lyrically affecting material in songs like “Clean Today”, “Chrome” and “The Future of Speech”.
1. Night is the New Day (2009)
The ultimate in Stockholm darkness, an urban-sounding album shock-filled with great songs. It also flows great, allowing the dynamics of the different songs to shine. Also features my favorite Katatonia song “The Longest Year”.
Soliloquium – Swedish doom metal
No matter if you like new or old Katatonia more, my band Soliloquium plays its own brand of progressive doom metal that you might like. It’s a mix of Katatonia’s death/doom style and clean vocal material. The song above is called “With or Without”.