At Islington Assembly Hall, London, U.K., May 25, 2019

KATATONIA (Live at Islington Assembly Hall, London, U.K., May 25, 2019)
Photo: Mick Burgess

A couple of year’s ago Katatonia announced that they were going on an indefinite hiatus and since then apart from a short tour of the Baltic states, little has been heard from the Swedish doomsters.

With 2019 marking the 10th anniversary of their seminal opus, Night Is The New Day, now seemed as good a time as any to come out of self-imposed exile with a few select shows around Europe to celebrate this landmark occasion with the Islington Assembly Hall being their only visit to the shores of the UK.

Leaving Brexit woes outside for one night, a wonderful mix of people from all nations were joined together by their universal love of music to appreciate some of the most beautiful, atmospheric and melancholic music ever created.

Opening with the bone crunching riffage of Forsaker and the chugging guitars of The Longest Year before the haunting melodies of Idle Blood provided the silk to the iron fist, Katatonia were firing on all cylinders.

The stage, bathed in deep violet, blue and red lighting with swirling dry ice occasionally pierced by shards of brilliant white light provided a breath-taking ambience so perfect for Katatonia’s deeply moving music.

Onward Into Battle and the dreamy melancholia of The Promise Of Deceit contrasted to the Doom Metal of Nephilim and Day and Then The Shade, the closest Katatonia come to an upbeat Rocker. It was however, the ballads that took the breath away with Inheritance and the shiver inducing Departer that really showed their class as Jonas Renkse ‘s delicate, emotive voice bringing a tear to the eye. When Roger Ojersson took over the vocals for the mid-section of Departer, Renkse’s stood static with his head bowed, creating one of those truly magical moments that brought an ovation from the crowd.

A four-song encore including July, Old Heart Falls and Lethean, where Anders Nystrom delivered a dynamic solo at the song’s crescendo bringing yet another simultaneous roar of approval, leaving a supreme cover of Judas Priest’s Night Comes Down to draw a unique and very special night to a memorable end.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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