Katatonia no longer katatonic

Now master tapes are hard drives

At last, movement on Katatonia’s front! After innumerable delays — their new record was on my most anticipated list last year — the band is actually recording. The first three studio updates are up at the band’s MySpace blog. Katatonia is one of the few bands whose mere name can give me chills. 2003’s Viva Emptiness, which I discovered through aversionline.com, changed my life. It showed me how bleak and beautiful metal could be. I used to listen to it before going to sleep. It gave me Kafka-esque visions of lost souls dotting grayscale cities. Here is “A Premonition” from Viva Emptiness.

A Premonition

My main takeaway from these studio diaries is more cheery. I love gear talk — brands of drum heads, descriptions of signal chains, even the materials of guitar picks. At any given time, certain brands are in vogue in metal. In the past few years, Caparison guitars and Krank and Engl amps have become popular. Now the new “it” brands seem to be Polish — Mayones guitars and Laboga amps. Each has a formidable roster of endorsees. Katatonia use both brands now. Not that it really matters. The music is what’s important. But many of the band’s fans are probably musicians who enjoy mechanical minutiae. At the heart of every true metalhead is a colossal nerd.

- Cosmo Lee

Katatonia’s new album is due out in October on Peaceville.