Album Review: Katatonia – Sanctitude (Live)
I am not one for live albums anymore. I used to always buy them because I felt I was enjoying a piece of the band that I did not have regular access to. The live setting was raw and mostly unedited back then. It seemed pure and energetic. Then, bands like Dream Theater and Opeth (to name just two) went and threw a whole bunch of production into their live albums/DVDs and now my bar has grown accustomed to excellent sound. How can I go back to bootleg-ish production now? There is one exception to the rule though. The (sort of) “unplugged” setting is an intimate atmosphere free of distortion and all around craziness. More importantly, bands have to rehearse quite a bit because the audience will be able to hear every single nuance of the music. It has to be awesome. This is where Katatonia’s new live concert, Sanctitude, comes in. It is (basically) unplugged, crisp, and sensational. Of course, the production helps.
If you have been a part of the Dethroned and Uncrowned (2013) experience, then you mostly already understand what Sanctitude is about; except it’s live. Why should you, the one who appreciates remixes like the ones on Dethroned and Uncrowned, buy this? There are only five songs from that album on Sanctitude plus 12 more you can lose yourself in. There is a large sample of Katatonia songs that sound marvelous in their new remixed form. Here is the track list in order of appearance and the original album you can hear them.
In The White – The Great Cold Distance
Ambitions – Dethroned and Uncrowned
Teargas – Last Fair Deal Gone Down
Gone – Discouraged Ones
A Darkness Coming – Tonight’s Decision
One Year From Now – Viva Emptiness
The Racing Heart – Dethroned and Uncrowned
Tonight’s Music – Last Fair Deal Gone Down
Sleeper – Viva Emptiness
Undo You – Dethroned and Uncrowned
Lethean – Dethroned and Uncrowned
Day – Brave Murder Day
Idle Blood – Night is the New Day
Unfurl – July (EP)
Omerta – Viva Emptiness
Evidence – Viva Emptiness
The One You Are Looking For is Not Here – Dethroned and Uncrowned
Despite the fact that I consider myself an avid Katatonia listener, there are a couple of albums and/or EPs I still do not own. Therefore, I heard a few songs for the first time on Sanctitude which was a real treat. Still learning new things…
As I mentioned earlier, if a band doesn’t rehearse for a set like this they could be setting themselves up for failure. You don’t hear the audience cheering or screaming during the songs (only in between). There are no distractions to keep you from hearing each and every note played and every single word Jonas Renkse sings. This is what makes this live experience more special.
While the production is excellent, Katatonia shines as performers. They are precise. Some of the songs may as well have been recorded this way to begin with. The sound during those songs felt natural even though I have heard them many times in their original form. A few worth mentioning that stuck out to me are A Darkness Coming, The Racing Heart, Day, and Idle Blood. Tonight’s Music and Evidence are among the best renditions Sanctitude has to offer in my humble opinion. The guest vocals on The One You Are Looking For is Not Here wrapped up the setlist perfectly.
Another thing worth mentioning is that if you feel Katatonia’s original music is too dark or gloomy for your taste, you’ll find that dark edge is largely absent on Sanctitude. These songs are much easier to get into and appreciate without much of the melancholy Katatonia is known for. Thank you Mik for pointing that out when you heard it.
BluRay is on order. I can’t wait! My neighbors are going to love the way it sounds!
5 out of 5