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Katatonia

Garage, Oslo, Norway on 28th August 2004
Reviewed by Andreas on 15th September 2004

The Garage in Oslo is a rather nice little venue, as nice little venues go. The ceiling's a bit low, the bar is lit up by nice lights, the barmaids are both pretty and nice - all in all a good place. In addition, and perhaps more to the point, the venue have previously won awards for "Best Sound" and whatnot. Well, that is more to the point, as I was in fact on the day in question (28/09/04) going to a gig.

This rainy rainy day in Norway I ended up stuck outside for half an hour, waiting for my friends who had my ticket. Fun. Luckily they came soon enough and I could progress to the venue itself.

The downstairs venue at Garage (which is a cafe during the day. And night for that matter, but still) was filled to the brim with anyone who's ever even thought about being goth. Seemingly, these people never wash either. Anyway, I got my drinks and settled down to watch the two bands on...

Manes

'Manes' is a horrible band. Obviously from some dodgy outskirt of Norwegian civilisation, their idea of cool consists of; trousers you see roadworkers wear, shirts with flames on them, and a constant lack of melodies.

The metal this band played was so horrible I considered leaving. Their silly attempts to get the crowd going ('All the way to the back now! Shout "METAL! METAL!!!"') just made the experience more embarrassing. The fact that all their songs sounded the same didn't exactly improve the experience.

I'd be hard pressed to find anything remotely nice to say about Manes, and you know what they say, "If you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all".

So I won't.

Rating: 0/10

Katatonia

After 4 pints and 45 minutes of aural torture, Katatonia finally got onstage. They're not a band given to wearing costumes, having flashing lights, smoke or fireworks. It's simply all about a band playing their songs and mumbling "Thanks" in-between numbers. However, it works.

One of the more passionate bands of the metal genre to come out of Sweden, Katatonia are melodic, epic, and should strike a chord with fans of Opeth and the like. With massive songs like opening number "Ghost of the Sun" the scene is quite easily set.

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Katatonia know their stuff. Their playing is flawless. Even when one guitarist snaps a string he takes his time to change it. Still the band never falls out of the song. In fact, they don't even flinch. Songs like "Criminals" and "Wealth" strike hard and heavy, getting all the aforementioned sweaty goths to headbang, throwing their sweat on innocent bystanders. All in the name of metal, eh?

However, even though Katatonia's later songs are heavy and technical, it's the older songs that are their best. "Sweet Nurse" and "The future of speech" from their album "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" are both amazing songs, heartfelt and not that metal, yet still keeping their edge. The only new song that comes close is the rather epic "Evidence" off of 2003's "Viva Emptiness" album.

Katatonia do good gigs. The only let-down was the fact that their set was EXACTLY the same as when I saw them in 2003. I had hoped for new songs. However, you can't get everything you want.

Still, if you get the chance, go see this band. They will blow you away.

Rating: 9/10
Website: katatonia.com

After six pints and no ear plugs I was left quite deaf and drunk. However, I'd do it again if I got the chance.

I just wish those goths hadn't sweated all over me though...

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