Following the release of their latest album The Fall of Hearts in 2016, the Swedish rock titans KATATONIA have embarked on a tour alongside the American black metal outfit GHOST BATH and fellow Swedish metallers THE GREAT DISCORD. We caught their show at Sound Control in Manchester to see how they were getting on.
Hailing from Sweden, THE GREAT DISCORD offer an interesting blend of rock and progressive metal with a variety of vocal styles. Tonight, vocalist Fie Kempe was in full costume, wearing a bodysuit and white face paint with full-black eye contacts and a magnificent red headdress. While it could have been an intense feature of the show, the lack of costumes or anything to make the other musicians of the band stand out made the effect ebb slightly. Similarly, Fia was full of energy, bounding around the stage and interacting well with the audience, which the rest of the band were not doing. That said, their performance itself was excellent. Playing material from Deunde, their slow, atmospheric sections before bursting into emotional choruses and bellowing vocals from Fia went down a treat and were a fantastic opener for the night. Previous fans of the band would also be happy to hear their latest single, Darkest Days, being played to full glory and making a great warmup for the night to come.
The elusive American black metal outfit GHOST BATH have been altering their approach to black metal with each release thus far. While their preceding record, Moonlover, focused on more depressive and melancholic tones, their latest album Starmourner had a significantly more joyful and euphoric feeling to it. Their set tonight comprised of a mix of material, though primarily off Starmourner, to the crowd’s joy as their popularity has exploded with its release. GHOST BATH are an example of a band who push the boundaries of their original genre, and pull it off massively. Incredible guitar work from Nameless with ferocious blast beats and drum work created a barrier of crushing black metal that only left you wanting more when their set ended.
After such a strong performance from GHOST BATH, KATATONIA had to jump over an incredibly high bar to top the night off. This, however, was exactly what was delivered from the Swedish rockers, as they burst straight into material off The Fall of Hearts to an immediate uproar from the crowd.
The entire band performed consistently and at an incredibly high level. Jonas’ signature vocals sent chills down the spine during the softer sections of Dead Letters, and were even stronger accompanied by powerful riffs from Anders Nyström and Roger Öjersson. Hearing the crowd singing along when Jonas prompted them made for a great sense of community as everyone came together to sing “I trusted you, you lied, it’s all I hear, you fucking lie” from Ghost of the Sun. The end of their 15-song set was met with both cries of anguish and screams of encouragement from the crowd as KATATONIA returned for an encore featuring My Twin and July, which brought even more energy to the crowd. As humble as ever, the band ended the show with a bow and a confirmation that KATATONIA are an incredible band, both on record and in the flesh.
All in all, the night was a tremendous success in a multitude of ways. It brought THE GREAT DISCORD into the spotlight and allowed them to show us what they have to offer, it gave us confirmation that GHOST BATH are a force to be reckoned with, and showed us that KATATONIA are still going strong and only improving as time goes on.
Check out our photo gallery of the night’s action in Manchester from Occult Photography: