BravePicks 2020 - KATATONIA's City Burials #3
December 29, 2020, a year ago
If there was any year that music was a true saviour, it was 2020. The ultimate diversion, as the world sits in virtual stagnation waiting anxiously for a fix. We will keep it brief here with the COVID commentary. Let’s let the music speak for itself. It is time to unveil our annual BravePicks countdown, where the devout scribes at BraveWords cast their votes at the hits and misses of the year! So who will be our #1? You’ll find out as we count down the BravePick Of 2020 each day in December!
Everybody has an opinion and it’s time for ours! And stay tuned in January for the writers’ individual Top 20s (new studio albums ONLY), Top 5 Brave Embarrassments (a fan favorite!), What/Who Needs To Stop In 2021? and Metal Predictions For 2021. Sadly no concerts. But all will be showcased come the New Year!
This virus can go to hell! Let’s let the Top 30 releases of 2020 rock your world!
3) KATATONIA - City Burials (Peaceville)
Sometimes it’s the subtleness and subdued music that takes precedence over an immediate impact of aggressive, hard-hitting tempos. Katatonia’s City Burials is one such example that ages like fine wine with repeated listens. What the Swedes have accomplished won’t take noticeable effect after the first encounter, but the nuances in the plodding, methodical slow burners achieve great heights when digging deeper into the album. The progressive rock tendencies are still there, but have been focused and simplified and having shorter songs proves to be a boon for City Burials. A tremendous effort, Katatonia have created a masterpiece of progressive/Gothic rock and metal and those that may have lost confidence in the band should be more than happy with this creation.
“In days and nights of black and silver, the dead end king will come. From pieces of broken mirrors there will be a crown bestowed upon his head. In reflections of shattered glass not only the seasons will turn, but also the change disguised by the lapse of time. His mind will have to come to bear the weight of everything that was left behind and forgotten. Archiving the inaccessible. Celebrating the abandoned and mourning the destroyed. The city burials.” - Guitarist Anders Nyström
Ryan Owenson praised City Burials in his review: In terms of the song-writing, City Burials is both firmly a Katatonia album and also unlike anything the band has done before. While incremental change has always been the hallmark of Katatonia’s existence (a band doesn’t get from Dance Of December Souls to City Burials over the course of just a two-year album cycle, right?), City Burials makes even previously ambitious Katatonia albums seem small in comparison, which is saying something given how distinguished Katatonia’s entire discography is. Whether it’s soaring rock tracks (“Behind The Blood”, “Fighters”) or darkness that, truly, defies genres (“Lacquer”, “Vanishers”), it’s clear that Katatonia is pushing creative boundaries like never before. And then, in the midst of it all, we also find “The Winter Of Our Passing”, a classic-sounding Katatonia track that could be on any album between Tonight’s Decision and The Great Cold Distance. It’s a reassuring nod to the past, even as the present musical state of the band impresses greatly.
BravePicks 2020 Top 30
3) KATATONIA - City Burials (Peaceville)
4) TESTAMENT - Titans Of Creation (Nuclear Blast)
5) INSIDIOUS DISEASE - After Death (Nuclear Blast)
6) NECROPHOBIC - Dawn Of The Damned (Century Media
7) ARMORED SAINT - Punching The Sky (Metal Blade)
8) ANNIHILATOR - Ballistic, Sadistic (Silver Lining)
9) ALCATRAZZ - Born Innocent (Silver Lining)
10) NAPALM DEATH - Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism (Century Media)
11) UNLEASH THE ARCHERS - Abyss (Napalm)
12) BLACK STONE CHERRY - The Human Condition (Mascot)
13) HAUNT - Mind Freeze (Shadow Kingdom)
14) ANAAL NATHRAKH - Endarkenment
15) AC/DC - PWRϟUP (Columbia/Sony)
16) BENEDICTION - Scriptures (Nuclear Blast)
17) KATAKLYSM - Unconquered (Nuclear Blast)
18) BLACKGUARD - Storm (Independent)
19) MEXICAN APE-LORD - Survival Cannibalism (Unable)
20) THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER - Verminous (Metal Blade)
21) ENSIFERUM - Thalassic (Metal Blade)
22) PROTEST THE HERO - Palimpsest (Spinefarm)
23) SODOM - Genesis XIX (Steamhammer)
24) INCANTATION - Sect Of Vile Divinities (Relapse)
25) MIDNIGHT - Rebirth By Blasphemy (Metal Blade)
26) NAGLFAR - Cerecloth (Century Media)
27) RAVEN - Metal City (SPV/Steamhammer)
28) KIRK WINDSTEIN - Dream In Motion (Entertainment One)
29) VANDEN PLAS - The Ghost Xperiment: Illumination (Frontiers)
30) GREEN CARNATION - Leaves of Yesteryear (Season of Mist)