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Dance Of December Souls

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Album Review

With their first full album, 1993's Dance of December Souls, Sweden's Katatonia proved that classic death/doom need not come from England, whence, until then, the genre had flourished at the hands of Paradise Lost, Anathema, and My Dying Bride. In fact, December manages to drag heavy metal to a near-standstill along with the best of 'em, combining cookie-monster growls, slothful riffing, morbid guitar (and, snuck in now and then, morbid synthesizer) melodies, and slow but busy drumming into a mesmerizing wash of depression. Eight-minute highlight "Gateways of Bereavement" and the desolately beautiful instrumental "Elohim Meth" are both perfect examples of these exquisitely sluggish and gloomy capabilities, although other offerings like "In Silence Enshrined" and the fan favorite "Without God" do eventually pick up the pace somewhat — also with very positive results. Not so the ensuing twin monoliths stacked back to back, "Velvet Thorns (Of Drynwhyl)" and "Tomb of Insomnia," both of which exceed 13 minutes in length and prove simply suicide-inducing for all but the most patient of metalheads — despite any number of memorable passages strewn about their massive girths. Then again, it could be said that, by inspiring such thoughts of self-destruction, Katatonia accomplish their mission. And, in any case, flawed though it may be, Dance of December Souls has stood the test of time pretty well, and thus remains one of the doom/death genre's important building blocks.

Customer Reviews


The 1993 debut by doom metal legends Katatonia, is a classic slab of death/doom that stands the test of time. Never gets old for a second.

Get other version

This edition with the lone figure with scythe was is authorized by the band and is an attempt by a record company to cash in on current Katatonia hence the new logo. The band urges everyone to buy the older edition with the old katatonia logo. It is available on itunes for the same price I believe.


Formed: 1991 in Stockholm, Sweden

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Considered by many to be one of the heavyweights of Swedish metal, Katatonia had a long and storied career that saw them move from a rough, sludge-like doom metal sound to a more streamlined approach, losing the guttural vocals and adding a more accessible, riff-based sheen to their brand of gothic doom. Formed in 1991 in Stockholm, Sweden, Katatonia started out life as a studio-based two-piece. Members Jonas Renkse (known then as Lord Seth) was the band's vocalist and drummer, and Anders Nyström...
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Dance Of December Souls, Katatonia
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