Published on June 10th, 2017 | by Mackinlay McBride0
Katatonia – The Garage, Glasgow
Up tonight at The Garage are metal stalwarts Katatonia, with support from relative newcomers, The Great Discord and Ghost Bath. Unfortunately due to a delay we were not able to catch The Great Discord, however the crowd appeared to be well warmed up for the second support act, Ghost Bath. One of the more controversial bands in recent years, Ghost Bath play a combination of blackgaze and depressive black metal, although their newer material hints at a more slightly more jubilant and euphoric direction. One of the more contentious points of Ghost Bath’s music for most listeners is the vocals, and fortunately, whether done on purpose, or due to the sound of the venue, the depressive shrieks do not sound as ear-splitting as they do on record, rather complimenting the atmosphere of the music nicely. The musicianship itself was fantastic, particularly in the guitar work, with the use of three guitarists working perfectly in bringing out every layer of the music.
While their set was excellent, it was unlikely that Ghost Bath won everyone over due to their polarising style. This was not at all a problem for Katatonia as the crowd was raring to go. The band were in incredible form, with latest additions to the fold, Daniel Moilanen and Roger Öjersson, fitting in immaculately, bringing with them a fresh energy, with Öjersson’s backing vocals bringing a new dynamic to old standards. A special mention has to Jonas Renkse, in that even this far into their career, his voice is maturing like a fine wine and simply gets better with age.
Unfortunately the setlist did not feature songs from every era (maybe tracks from Brave Murder Day and Dance of December Souls would be too much to ask due their difference in style), however it was still no doubt filled to the brim with classics, old and new. “Teargas”, “Criminals” and “Ghost of the Sun” garnered the emphatic responses that one would expect, however the newer material from The Fall of Hearts, in which this tour is in support of, did not seem one bit out of place, with “Passer” in particular standing out and receiving just as strong a response as any of the seminal masterworks of Katatonia’s past. Their music is melancholic and emotional; it can be felt deeply. There’s no doubt in my mind that it stirred a lot of emotions in the crowd tonight.
However, they truly saved the best till last with their encore. “My Twin” in a sense could be called their “hit”, and the crowd’s engagement definitely proved that. The beautiful “Lethean” has worked its way into being a crowd-pleaser after only a few years, while “July” in a live setting is truly monolithic. While the venue filled-up nicely as the night went on, it’s unfortunate that it wasn’t completely packed, as a band with the pedigree of Katatonia deserves to be playing massive sell-out shows. 26 years into their career and Katatonia are as powerful as they’ve ever been. When they’re on form (but have they ever really been off it?), there aren’t many bands that can touch them.
Photos by Lewis Allen