LIVE REVIEW: KatatoniK at On the Rox

KatatoniK Tour Poster

Date: December 4th, 2015
Venue: On the Rox, Dublin
Line-up: KatatoniK + Dark_Matter

KatatoniK, as the name suggests, are a tribute band dedicated to the early years of Swedish death/doom giants Katatonia. Formed by members of For Ruin, Corr Mhona and Lost Paradise, the band members stated that “The band has no desires to do anything other than enjoy playing the music from this era of the band in a live setting”. The group played two successful shows in Cork and Dublin earlier this year but later decided to play another two before putting the project to rest.

Limerick’s Dark_Matter started off the night with some heavy instrumental rock/metal. Their music encompassed many different sounds from post-rock, progressive metal and gothic/industrial synths and keyboards. The sound in the venue was spot on, giving Dark_Matter’s sound rich clarity and heaviness. The wide range of sounds on offer made their performance quite interesting to watch, drummer Dave O’Dowd and guitarist Eoin Crowley in particular, both of whom were deeply engrossed in their instruments.

KatatoniK’s set opened the short instrumental of “Dancing December”, from which they went straight into “Funeral Wedding”. The contrasting loud/quiet sections of the song sound just as refreshing today as they were 20 years ago, the mid-section bass solo and devastating vocal assault towards the end being particular highlights. “Murder” began a strong representation of the Brave Murder Day album, the main guitar lead ringing through the room, and “12” which was noted to be guitarist Paul Quinn’s favourite song to play.

The bands setlist remained largely the same as their previous show, with songs selected exclusively from Katatonia’s early years, in particular, from 1992’s demo Jhva Elohim Meth up to the Sounds of Decay E.P in 1997 but with a couple of new additions.

Of course this being a tribute act, the band members were a little more relaxed than a standard show, playing these songs not just as musicians but as fans of the band. Bassist Kieran O’Leary looked to be cooking under the intense lighting of the venue but he never let it faze him, tearing through the aforementioned “Funeral Wedding” and “Gateways of Bereavement”. Grinning and singing along the whole set was drummer Steve O’Connell; he got so carried away at some points, even skipping ahead to the faster sections in “Shades of Emerald Fields”. Guitarist’s Paul Quinn and John Murphy made sure all those distinct guitar leads and solo’s rang true, again with help from the great sound in the venue, a trademark of early Katatonia.

The guys closed the set with a pair of heavyweights, one of the best known songs from this era “Without God”, and then noting that there was only one way to properly end a Katatonia tribute show before going straight into the momentous “Brave”.

With a show the following night in Cork, this marks the end of KatatoniK’s successful run of shows. The shows were made for die-hard fans of the band; playing songs that Katatonia themselves hardly even play live anymore. The project will now be put to rest but the guys have promised a new non-tribute act will be launched in the New Year.

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