Compiling a list of the 20 best Katatonia songs is a tough task. I’m a massive Katatonia fan, and they certainly have literal hordes of great songs. After some last.fm statistics analysis, and careful consideration I’ve selected my top 20 Katatonia songs . It might be an interesting read no matter if you’re checking out Katatonia for the first time, or if you just want to see if you agree. Please comment with your own list! I also ranked Katatonia’s albums in another article on this site.
About the author
I’m Stefan Nordström, an aspiring musician and content creator. This is one of the ways I promote Soliloquium, my progressive death/doom metal band. If you’re searching for new music in the style, it would be awesome if you listened to my stuff on:
20. “Will I Arrive?” (Viva Emptiness, 2003)
The fantastic chorus melody alone is enough to get “Will I Arrive?” into my top 20 Katatonia songs. “Complicity” is another underrated track from the same album, but this one is slightly sharper.
19. “Had To (Leave)” (Tonight’s Decision, 1999)
Simple and drearily depressive 4/4 track from Katatonia’s second clean vocal album. Jonas Renkse’s vocals are truly soul-crushing in this one.
18. “Sleeper” (Viva Emptiness, 2003)
Another “Viva Emptiness” track with some eternally memorable vocal lines. It also has some great metal heaviness, especially in the drum parts. Overall a really cool track with an intense, brooding atmosphere.
17. “Endtime” (Brave Murder Day, 1996)
“Brave Murder Day” at its most murky and obscure. The gazy clean guitar parts are perfect and Åkerfeldt delivers the whispery vocal lines with a fitting sense of darkness.
16. “Passer” (The Fall of Hearts, 2016)
The epic closing track from “The Fall of Hearts” is good enough to bypass some old classics. The insanely good dynamics and catchy vocal lines get me every time, not to mention the awesome post-metal ending.
15. “Clean Today” (Last Fair Deal Gone Down, 2001)
One of Katatonia’s most original songs in terms of lyrics, dealing with alcoholism and partying. It’s also got a solid rocking groove. Quite a unique and utterly appealing song.
14. “Rusted” (The Great Cold Distance, 2006)
“Rusted” is a song that I always associate with spring. It always brings me back. Musically, it’s a very dynamic offering with heavy drive and atmosphere in one.
13. “Criminals” (Viva Emptiness, 2003)
A classic that I still revisit quite often. I like the mix of modern metal aggression and alternative rock vocal melodies.
12. “Hypnone” (Dead End Kings, 2012)
It’s not “The Racing Heart” or “Lethean” that is the true “Dead End Kings” gem for me. “Hypnone” has weepy verses and a chorus to die for.
11. “Brave” (Brave Murder Day, 1996)
The song that introduced the gazy 4/4 trance and obscure leads that is “Brave Murder Day”. The main riff is instantly recognizable, as well as the vocals and lyrics.
Katatonia full-length discography
- Dance of December Souls, 1993
- Brave Murder Day, 1996
- Discouraged Ones, 1998
- Tonight’s Decision, 1999
- Last Fair Deal Gone Down, 2001
- Viva Emptiness, 2003
- The Great Cold Distance, 2006
- Night Is the New Day, 2009
- Dead End Kings, 2012
- Dethroned & Uncrowned, 2013
- The Fall of Hearts, 2016
10. “Journey Through Pressure” (The Great Cold Distance, 2006)
“The Great Cold Distance” is far from Katatonia’s darkest album, and perhaps that’s why this song so completely hits the sweet spot. It uses the massive guitar layers from the album’s almost industrial sounding production on the big doom chords to massive effect.
9. “The Promise of Deceit” (Night is the New Day, 2009)
There are many songs on my favorite Katatonia album that could make it on here, but “The Promise of Deceit” really brings the Stockholm darkness. The ominous electronics and trippy bass lines bring a sense of anxiety that few bands can replicate.
8. “Dissolving Bonds” (The Great Cold Distance, 2006)
Katatonia are known for their awesome bonus tracks, so at least one has to make it into the 10 best songs list. Since it relies a lot more on guitar leads than other tunes from the period, it almost feels like an overwintered “Last Fair Deal Gone Down” song in a new package.
7. “The Future of Speech” (Last Fair Deal Gone Down, 2001)
“The Future of Speech” is a virtual anthem of hopelessness, and feels a bit unappreciated compared to other tunes on the album. The melodies might not be as catchy as “Teargas” or “Tonight’s Music”, but it’s a song that hits me more in the right emotional spot.
6. “Right into the Bliss” (Tonight’s Decision, 1999)
You can hear from the first few notes in the main melody that “Right into the Bliss” is one of those big songs. It’s got a strong 4/4 drive in the drums, and a more straightforward lyric approach than the “Last Fair Deal Gone Down” contemporaries on this list. The “Live Consternation” version below gives the song even more power.
5. “Dispossession” (Last Fair Deal Gone Down, 2001)
“Dispossession” is similar to album mate “Chrome” on place two in that it has an almost apathic alternative rock approach. The signature Blakkheim guitar leads are some of the most addictive, and once again the lyrics are as simple as they are striking.
4. “Murder” (Brave Murder Day, 1996)
A telling sign of the best Katatonia songs is that they stand enormous amounts of replays, and “Murder” is a typical example. It’s an extremely simple song, yet so hypnotic and memorable, much like the rest of the “Brave Murder Day” album. It can be hard to compare these older growl classics to the newer clean vocal material in a fair way, but I think #4 is fair for “Murder”.
3. “Departer” (Night is the New Day, 2009)
Unforgettable Krister Linder guest appearance, dense atmosphere, overwhelming emotional impact. “Departer” is a Katatonia song that has it all, and no best of list would be complete without it!
2. “Chrome” (Last Fair Deal Gone Down, 2001)
The combination of an alternative rock sound that almost sounds apathetic at times, and an explosive chorus with some of their most striking lyrics ever makes “Chrome” and unforgettable Katatonia song that winds up as number two on my list. It has as everything a classic Katatonia songs needs.
1. “The Longest Year” (Night is the New Day, 2009)
391 last.fm plays speaks its clear language, this is their ultimate tune so far. The whole feeling of the song, along with the video, just reeks of the Stockholm darkness that makes “Night is the New Day” such a brilliant album. Jonas Renkse also sings some of his most memorable vocal melodies ever in this tune. It seems like I can never get enough of this song.
Other stuff that might be interesting:
Katatonia albums ranked from worst to best ->
“Brave Murder Day” review ->
“The Fall of Hearts” review ->
10 best Anathema songs ->
10 best Paradise Lost songs ->
Soliloquium, Swedish doom metal influenced by Katatonia ->
Jay · June 22, 2019 at 6:19 pm
Hi Stefan, I’m discovering Katatonia and finding your blogs helpful and inspiring. Thank you! I’d be interested to know what you mean by “Stockholm darkness”.
soliloquium · June 25, 2019 at 7:03 am
Hi! It’s kind of a feeling that the music gives me, since I’ve walked around inner city Stockholm so much in the night listening to Katatonia.. especially “Night is the New Day”. They also said themselves in interviews that they draw a lot of inspiration from the city 🙂 Enjoy discovering the band’s fantastic discography!