Album RAMBLE: Katatonia — “Sky Void of Stars”

For Katatonia‘s 13th full length, Sky Void of Stars, we (as in the Top Brass, Benevolent Overlords, etc: Corey, Dan K, Chris, and Josh) decided to capitalize on something we’ve done so many times with this band’s discography; get together over a chat, pour way too many drinks for ourselves, and talk Katatonia. This time around, it only felt right to share that experience with all of you: the first ever Top Brass collaborative review ramble, as it were. If you’ve been following along, our love of all things Katatonia is not subtle. We’ve featured them many times over the years, photographed them, and generally love everything they’ve done from their early death / doom days to their ever-evolving gloom-goth-progressive-metal-rock that seems to only get better the longer they exist. We won’t give too much away ahead of the ramble you’re about to dive into headfirst, but suffice it to say, Sky Void of Stars is the album we needed right now. And let’s be real, this will probably be the first of several drunken nights we spend discussing this album’s place in the Katatonia pantheon. But for now, without further ado, we present our rambles…


In which 3/4 of the team assemble in the chat room. Drinks are established.

Corey: Greetings.

Dan: Also hai.

Chris: Huzzah, we are arrived.

Corey: I do not know if that is a pun in reference to a Viva Emptiness track, but I’m going to decide it is either way

Chris: Let’s assume for the sake of making us look knowledgeable that it is

Dan: I too know things

Corey: That’s all we ever really aspire for

Chris: I read that as “I know two things” and I feel like that’s going to be my gear for this.

Dan: Why stop at one thing when you can know two?

Chris: I have now also made a drink – went with scotch to start. Dan you are playing the designated reviewer?

Corey: I am very much not going to be playing that role, so Dan, no pressure…to be clear: there is absolutely no pressure to remain sober.

Chris: In fact, there is probably an undue amount of peer pressure to NOT be sober.

Corey: exactly!

Dan: Gimme a minute and I’ll whip something sipable up.

Corey: Yeah, so, I guess I’ll disclose the glassware around me… I shall be sipping on the Weihnachtsbier from Schilling Beer Co, their holiday bock, and the last one I have from this season… while also sipping on Eight Bells Rum from New England Distillery…

Corey: …and perhaps an edible.

Chris: Damn you are going all out! While we wait for Dan to come back with a tasty beverage, where are you at as far as advance listening? I’ve heard the singles once or twice, but wanted to keep myself fresh for a full album listen.

Corey: Yeah, similar. I’ve only listened to the three singles they’ve released so far, and only a few times of each. I’m actually going into this fairly fresh on Katatonia. Never actually went back to other albums tonight like I originally planned.

Dan: …Blackened whisky it is! I have heard the new song that they played live and that’s about it… my sole other exposure is “taking y’all’s word that the songs are good”.

Chris: I listened to City Burials, and left it the same way I did the last did I tried – it’s okay. Too much electronic pop for my taste.

Corey: Agreed – the high points are still reasonably high, but as an album is not nearly on the level that Fall of Hearts is.

Dan: Do not like the City Burials.

Chris: Leave it buried.

Dan: Still love the Fall of Hearts.

Corey: So when we hitting play on this beast?

Chris: Well, it seems like we are all here, all beveraged up, so I’m ready when you all are

Corey: Same

Dan: CHEERS – let’s do this

The Stream

In which streaming promos are addressed, drinks are consumed, the last quarter arrives, and opinions are exposed.

Corey: (Quick note: stream promos are annoying – add it to the record) …and PLAY!

Dan: Note for the kids at home, we are doing this on a stream. Thanks, Napalm! So, track 1, “Austerity”.

Corey: I already love the way this album opens. Nice and dense.

Chris: Does Renske’s voice sound different? More open? I love how they get a little proggy on the breaks.

Dan: I love this syncopated rhythm. It makes it sound SO immediate.

Chris: The break with the solo is great – has a bit of an Opeth vibe.

Dan: Agree

Corey: Yeah I was just thinking that…Renske is def doing some new stuff with his voice – it’s awesome.




Chris: Katatonia always knows how to open an album

Dan: Well now I know three things, Corey…Disagree Chris. City Burials opened with [saaaaad crooooon] for like 90 seconds and lost me.

Corey: Is it weird that I wasn’t crazy about the leads that opened City Burials? I dug the vocal intro, but once that guitars kicked in I was like… ehhhh I wanted not-this

Chris: Maybe I’m forgetting after literally having listened to it an hour ago, lol…which speaks volumes about that album

Corey: Fair

Dan: ANYWAY back to the album we are talking about. Track 2: “Colossal Shade”

Chris: I really dig the more open, less “I have a head cold” voice Jonas is doing…also digging the syncopation here.

Dan: Yes, haha. This track’s settling into a nice little groove.

Corey: I kinda like how “Colossal Shade” is just marching along after a far more dynamic opening track in “Austerity”.

Chris: It sounds FANTASTIC. Production is rich

Corey: Production is PHENOMENAL

Chris: Agreed, but I really don’t want this tempo and cadence for the whole album. Dig the keys buried in the back. You can hear everything in the mix… also I have no idea if I can keep this pace, as we’re only on track 2 and I’ve consumed 4 oz of whiskey… ON TO DRINK 2.

Corey: hahahaha, 10 minutes down, 40 to go

Dan: SIP EVERY TIME A KATATONIA SONG IS GREAT… We’ve heard two songs and I can confidently say this blows City Burials out of the water

Corey: Oh man those keys hiding in there are so tasty

Dan: Track 3: “Opaline”

Chris: That’s a nice 1-2

Corey: yep, good first phase of the album

Chris: Okay…Im worried…I’m also now losing punctuation.

Corey: Where we going with this? So is there 5 minutes of this or…

Dan: Dude this picks up… Love this

Corey: oh yeah there it is…hell yeah

Chris: I love the doubled vocals – the chorus picks up a bit to be sure, but honestly it’s not blowing me out of the water

Corey: Josh – your thoughts please?

Chris: Track 3 should be your big hitter…I feel like this is kinda batting a single. Is that how sports metaphors work? …ok, second chorus feels a bit bigger

Corey: I’ll give you a solid B for that metaphor

Dan: Katatonia doing the sporps!

Corey: I do love the rising and falling nature of this thing

Chris: This will double as my Defector resume

Dan: There’s a nice tension to it…lol

Chris: Dan the effects on those drums are pure 80s and I kinda love it…song definitely picks up on the second half

Dan: Haha indeed


Dan: Are we 3 for 3? Batting 1,000? SPORTS

Corey: I say yay

Chris: I’ll take it. It grows on me. And Jonas singing over the end part is GREAT. He’s the MVP so far

Corey: As this fades away, I’ll say that “Birds” was BY FAR my favorite of the three singles they dropped

Dan: Track 4, now, “Birds”.

Chris: We’ll definitely be 4-4 because DAMN Birds was a strong single

Dan: This is entirely new to me. I heard “Austerity” live a couple months back but no others. Comin in hot, though!

Corey: Yep!

Chris: I love the more rock and roll vibe on that opening – totally cool with the verses going minimal with the bass driving it

Full St(r)eam Ahead

Fearless Editor Josh enters the chat, prompting the following exclamation from Chris.


Josh: Alright then, took two big ass shots to catch up and large glass of 110 proof. “Birds” right?


Chris: DA BIRDS…

Dan: Speakin of comin in hot!

Chris: (more sports humor – I’m doing it)

Dan: Don’t quit your day job Chris

Josh: Love this track man. It’s so damn Katatonia of today. Penultimate even… HahH, yessir. Evening gents

Chris: Too late – I have quit and 9C is now my only source of income. WE NEED TO PUT UP PAYWALLS


Chris: Love how energetic this is. Honestly this should have been the third track

Josh: Indeed

Dan: phrasing?

Chris: The breakdown with the vocals is great

Josh: Suck the metal we shall. Love the pacing here honestly

Dan: So, I do enjoy this. But, lol, I think it might be my least favorite of the four we’ve heard so far?

Josh: Jonas is a freaking beast on this

Dan: It’s still good!

Chris: You are anti-rock, Dan. We all know this

Dan: But it feels the least Katatony to me

Josh: And hi, might be my fave yet. I did do some pregaming on the way home so…

Dan: Anyway, track 5: “Drab Moon”

Corey: Drab Moon (not majesty)

Dan: Would be better if it was a majesty, but I won’t hold that against it

Josh: Love the opening

Chris: Ok, so if thew last track was the least katatonia to you, this should rectify that…this feels very classic Katatonia

Corey: Man, Drab Majesty was a thing I thought was fun for like a few minutes and then totally stopped caring about

Josh: Gloomy and dark

Chris: Again with the keys and synths coming in for the win

Corey: This feels… familiar, but different

Josh: Agreed. Big time

Dan: Yeah, this is more my thing. Kind of a gothic metal slow dance song

Chris: The stabbing moments at the 1:22 mark are awesome

Josh: Slow goth. Sign me up

Dan: Wednesday Addams and like, Nicolas Cage’s kid, totally letting Jesus between them on the middle school dance floor to this song

Chris: Is Jonas doubling his own vocals, or is someone else singing the backup/harmonies? BECAUSE THEY ARE LUSCIOUS CHOCOLATE

Corey: I can’t tell, but I like it ha

Josh: Also, I’ll fourth? the “streaming promos suck” just so we’re clear on that



Corey: I can understand something, and not appreciate it

Chris: (we do. keep us on the list, please)…I love this song. This is what I would have wanted “Opaline” to be

Corey: So this took a turn heading into the home stretch

Josh: Indeed, keep us since all 4 of us have vinyl coming

Chris: You mean that in a good way, Corey?

Dan: Am I wrong to describe this album as “breezy” so far?

Corey: yes. very eys. yes

Dan: Because we’re getting through it so quickly and effortlessly

Corey: uh oh – there’s goes my typing ability

Chris: Yeah – it’s tight THANK GOD

Dan: I mean that in a good way


Josh: Breezy yes. Dark yes. Why I love Katatonia, all of it yes

Dan: Anyway, Track 6: “Author”

Corey: Feel the future, boys

Dan: Jonas is, uh, pushing himself a bit vocally here

Josh: But I dig it a lot

Corey: Same

Chris: Yeah, reaching for the higher register on lead…it sounds a little forced but I’ll allow it

Dan: Yo this fuckin riff after the vox drop out, though

Josh: High register is not a place I thought he’d flourish yet here we are

Chris: damn I love that riff going out of the verse

Dan: That shit’s gnarly

Corey: that is so damn cool

Chris: that thing has SWING

Josh: Oh DAMN

Corey: meaty yet pretty

Chris: This feels like a classic Katatonia chorus from Viva Emptiness. I am so here for it

Josh: This is that thing where it gets really great. Exactly my thoughts Chris. And I love it…Give me VIVA


Josh: Second full drink of 120 proof

Chris: The run of Last Fair Deal through GCD is impeccable

Josh: Agreed


Josh: And what a damn solo! Jesus

Corey: It’s got complex patterns!

Chris: The solo is so damn good. Honestly these good good boys don’t solo enough


Chris: Damn I love the chorus on this

Josh: More solo. Just like more cowbell, always a good thing

Chris: this is becoming a fave for me

Josh: Tide is tipping for me too, this track rules

Dan: 6 for 6?

Corey: 6 for 6 without a doubt for me

Dan: Track 7 is “Impermance”…Im[ermanece…Motherfuck (ed. it’s “Impermanence”)

Corey: and 3 faves so far are this, Colossal and Birds

Chris: I’m going to slightly adjust to 5.5 for 6…”Opaline” is dimming for me

Josh: I cheated on the way here so yea 6 for 6


Chris: This immediately feels like a “back half” track…you know what I mean?

Corey: I do

Josh: Sorry. Stream dropped out on me…ugh. Back now. This one kinda…drags?

Dan: Okay yeah, this is very pretty but also kind of bland

Corey: I… don’t know if I’m into this

Chris: The chorus strives for AOR godlike mode


Josh: Haha. Ok yea. No

Chris: This is like all of the last three albums for me…it’s “fine” but I won’t remember it

Corey: 6 for 7 ha

Josh: Yep

Corey: You WILL remember FoH

Josh: Still a tremendous average

Chris: lol I need to revisit that

Corey: or so help me I will turn this blog around

Dan: Chris you watch your tongue Fall of Hearts was a last three album

Corey: You shut your mouth when Falling Hearts are talking to you!

Chris: I actually recall putting FoH on my EOY list, but I never, NEVER revisit it (ed. I did, a fact you can verify here.)

Dan: I think I combined “hold your tongue” and “watch your mouth” there. Hooray alcohol

Josh: FoH is a desert island album for me

Chris: I think that’s the measure of a Katatonia album…”will I revisit this in a year, or will go back to my standbys?”

Corey: This solo amuses me (in a mostly good way)

Chris: It give the blues, baby

Dan: It is the most interesting part of the song

Josh: Yeah for sure. Not digging is track at all honestly

Corey: Agreed

Chris: FO SHO

Josh: No needle movement here

Corey: Josh is upset – fix this Katatonia!

Chris: okay so for you guys what are the desert island Katatonia records? I said for me it LFDGD to GCD

Corey: FoH, GCD, and…. actually just those two

Dan: Brave Murder Day, Last Fair Deal, Great Cold Distance, Fall of Hearts

Josh: Viva, FoH and LFDGD

Corey: eh, throw DEK (Dead End Kings) in there…

Dan: Track 8 is upon us, finally! “Sclera”. This, I get the feeling, is going to build into something

Josh: Alright Sciera, let’s do it

Chris: Phil Collins drum are GO

Dan: Anytime you have low pass filter on vocals, it’s gonna get fuckin massive… Ask any electro act – I’m sure Katatonia did

Corey: ooo me like

Josh: In the Air Tonight

Chris: This is better than “Impermanence” but it’s still a back-half track. It’s okay

Josh: Yea that is good. Not first half good but good

Chris: The “wow” hasn’t wowed me yet

Dan: Man, it felt like it was gonna get bigger there, and then it just kinda started spinning the wheels

Corey: Yeah that tapered

Josh: Tapered…. Perfect descriptor

Chris: Also I’m now almost 8 oz. down with my whiskey. Someone call my doctor. Or my son to grab me another bottle

Corey: Let’s try that again…

Chris: OH WAIT

Corey: If your doctor grabs you another bottle, I want that doctor

Josh: Me too

Chris: What is this? The song just changed gears completely

Dan: Chris I know Katatonia is awesome, but please do not drink a pint of whiskey tonight

Chris: 3:10 mark

Dan: Yeah, complete feel change

Corey: Yeah it did a thing!

Josh: Yep. And that’s the beauty of this band

Dan: Aww and then it died again

Corey: Do something with it. DO IT NOW

Josh: Switch on a dime and shits ok all of a sudden. Then not

Chris: This is crazy…the second half of the song is redeeming the first half for me. oof…nope. It went back to the old way

Josh: Right

Chris: Folks – for about 30 seconds “Sclera” is fantastic

Corey: I kinda dig this, but not where it falls in the tracklist I think

Dan: 6 for 8?

Josh: Yes

Dan: Track 9 is “Atrium”

Chris: I can dig with that…”Atrium” was another single…and I recall digging it hard

Josh: Ahhh, “Atrium”

Corey: I think it was the first single… It was

Dan: Oh! I think I did hear this one live, too. This rings bells

Josh: Major digging it

Dan: And I like it

Chris: I am so into how Jonas has opened up his voice

Corey: My opinion on this track has changed like 10 times

Josh: This thing has some damn swing to it and some heavy balls as well

Corey: Loved it when I first heard it, then didn’t after hearing the other singles

Chris: The chorus swings for the fences and hits it

Josh: Just upped the proof to 130 with a new glass

Chris: Guys I am ALL about the sports tonight

Dan: Yeah, this is a contender for best chorus on the album. Spike that ball, Jonas!

Corey: But, I think following those previous couple tracks, it has a nice redeeming element to it in terms of just… catchiness and energy or something

Josh: Totally agree

Chris: I have now emptied the Jameson’s. You were killed for a noble cause, bottle

Josh: This is that sweet spot of gloom rock

Corey: Yes!

Chris: Yeah, this is a late track that makes you want to keep going. You need this pick-me-up at track 9

Corey: Yeah

Dan: Yes

Josh: Second half needed this… shot in the ark and all

Dan: Oooh a little key change!

Corey: If i had MY way – ditch impermanence and go from author to sclera to this

Josh: Arm, as it was…

Chris: I would be down with that sequencing

Josh: Same

Dan: Yeah… When you’re president, Corey

Corey: This being the penultimate track makes me concerned there just isn’t enough to be built off this the rest of the way

Josh: Agreed

Corey: but it is a GREAT pick me up track

Chris: ok last “official” track

Dan: Track 10 is “No Beacon to Illuminate Our Fall”…let’s goooo

Chris: I’m not surprised at the tone here…makes sense to end on something darker

Corey: I love that we took our drunken ramblings about albums that we were already doing anyway and turned it into #CONTENT

Chris: ..also the longest track at over 6 min

Dan: Oooh, that snaky little riff once it picks up

Chris: Love how it turns hard rock… Yeah BABY

Josh: Hmm, interesting

Corey: CHEWY

Josh: And I like it

Chris: they really have been hitting the “syncopation” button for these rock riffs. I am 100% here for it. Damn, the next section is just as good…a little more sinewy

Josh: Those quick blasts buttonhooked with gloom. Oh yea

Dan: Sinewy is the perfect way to describe this, Chris

Josh: I’ll agree

Chris: I knew that degree would come in handy

Corey: I’m getting the sense that this is gonna end up being a 6 minute track that could totally get away with being 8

Josh: Jonas is really showing out here and I’m here for it

Dan: What is this chaos section?

Chris: and again a KILLER section

Dan: I love it

Chris: holy shit this is insane

Josh: Oh THERE IT IS. Money shot

Corey: This is fucking bonkers haha

Dan: Definitely finishing strong

Chris: This is maybe my favorite track

Josh: Good lord

Dan: Or, uh… halfing strong? We’re only 3:30 in at this point. Album as a whole finishing strong though

Chris: so many ideas and sections…kinda prog in how it refuses to repeat itself

Josh: Agreed. Idea after idea but they all actually work

Chris: Love the solo work

Dan: This little solo break feels almost Gilmourian?

Corey: I’m just vibing so heavy right now haha

Josh: I think overall this album has the tastiest solos

Chris: I can definitely hear the PF influence, Dan

Corey: Inject this track into my veins, god dammit

Josh: Same

Dan: Yeah, this is great

Chris: I’m sorry – this is now my favorite track on the album

Josh: Also sake

Corey: Hard same

Dan: You do not need to apologize for that, buddy

Josh: SAME, dammit haha


Josh: And that deep blast of bass!


Corey: That track covered more ground than City Burials ha

Dan: And now we get a bonus track. Which I’m sure will not suck. “Absconder”

Josh: Phil Collins is back. Jesus those druns. DRUMS

Dan: So, I was correct. This does not suck

Josh: 130 proof is talking

Chris: I don’t get the concept of a “bonus” track…how does THIS not fit into the overall tonal theme of the record? This is great

Dan: I kinda like it. Just not after that last song

Corey: This can also replace Impermanence


Dan: Can we ditch Impermancce and put this in its place?

Josh: Indeed it can

Dan: Ipmernance – Fucking fuck

Corey: Impotence

Dan: LEARN TO TYPE DAN…Ignorance

Josh: Thank you! Haha

Chris: We have made it so. New sequence initiated

Dan: Other “I” words

Chris: igloo, iguana, icicle…


Josh: Best

Dan: Man, this woulda been such a better “side two” kickoff

Josh: Bonus track my ass, this should’ve been a main album track

Chris: Right?

Josh: And this better be on our vinyl copies

Chris: 100% this should have replaced Impermanence

Corey: A back half-er, perhaps. But yes, it earned a spot in the starting lineup…SPORT

Chris: I have never been so happy Corey ordered two of this album

Josh: SPORTY. HahH

Corey: That was a thing I did!

Josh: Just to be sure we were all covered

Corey: Now, am I am confident I’ll actually receive both copies? Maybe 80%

Chris: If you didn’t rest assured I would have been buying this as soon as our chat ended

Corey: …but that’s better than how I felt a month ago haha

Dan: I do not vinyl, but I will be adding this to my Bandcamp queue


In which our heroes, thoroughly soused, attempt to wrap up

Chris: Now THAT is a Katatonia album

Josh: Honestly, minus Impermanence, this album is a banger. A slapper, a whatever is great these days

Corey: It’s definitely a leap up from City Burials (which I mostly liked, to be clear)

Dan: A banger, a slapper, a lover and a fapper

Corey: Time will tell where it ends up but damn did I enjoy that first listen through, just about end-to-end

Chris: I’ll need to (if I wanna keep Top Brass status) revisit FoH, but this is the best thing since GCD for me

Josh: Same here. Loved that album but this? Love more

Corey: I’m thinking… I’m gonna be thinking… the same

Dan: It eats City Burials’ lunch

Josh: FoH is still my top but this is close

Dan: I need to go through this a couple more times before I determine if it’s Mount Rushmore status, but it’s very, very good

Corey: I’m curious about how my opinion on those back half tracks shift over time

Chris: Something we haven’t discussed but I’ll posit it here…best Katatonia album art since…forever?

Corey: Yes

Dan: Impermanence – skip. Sclera – fast forward to the good part, then skip. The rest? DRINK

Josh: Drink to the good

Dan: As for the artwork? Easily

Corey: Colossal Shade will end up being a favorite of mine I think

Chris: Yeah – it just kicked back on for me and it is SO GOOD… but not “No Beacon to Illuminate Our Fall” good

Josh: 99% sure Colossal is my album pick …of tracks on said album

Dan: No Beacon takes the cake for me

Chris: If I was ranking, I’d go No Beacon, Colossal, Birds, Author, Austerity, Atrium, Sclera, Opaline, Impermanence

Dan: It’s like that Phoebe Bridgers album a couple years back where the whole thing was mostly pretty great but then the last song she just started shrieking “Midsommar” style and it somehow still was far and away the best thing on it? No Beacon has that kinda craY good energy

Chris: Yeah – it goes out there and I love it for that. Ok, I think unless anyone has anything else, maybe we did this thing? I honestly can’t believe I’m still able to type

Corey: I think we’re good

Chris: Any final words from you guys about the album?

Dan: We definitely did this thing

Corey: It’s great… but how great is TBD. But on a single pass it’s pretty damn clear that this is really fucking strong album

Josh: Alvin indeed. ALBUM. LOL



Dan: Final words: if you live by the golden rule (DRINK EVERY TIME A KATATONIA SONG IS GREAT), you will consume approximately one unit of measurement [which I will call a Voss] of whiskey listening to Sky Void of Stars

Corey: 4.5 ALVINS OUT OF 5

Josh: Bourbon y’all… HHahahahaha

Chris: Katatonia’s Sky Void of Stars is STRONG ALVIN…you heard it here first, folks!

Photo Credit: Mathias Blom

4.5 out of 5 Alvins, folks. I can’t think of higher praise. Check back with us next month when we present our dumb selves in chat form for your amusement. In the meantime…yeah: Sky Void of Stars is very, very good. Katatonia have more than brought the goods.

Top Brass

Sky Void of Stars will be available January 20 on Napalm Records. For more information on Katatonia check out their website and Facebook page.

2 thoughts on “Album RAMBLE: Katatonia — “Sky Void of Stars”

  1. Jonathan Meyer January 19, 2023 / 6:27 pm

    This was a great read. Fall of Hearts was a masterpiece, especially after Dead End Kings was so…meh. Which is why City Burials scared me. Two out of the last 3 albums have been underwhelming for a band that I’ve fanboid since discouraged ones.

    My initial listens to this leave me hopeful.

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