APESHIT’s Top Albums of 2009

It’s that time where we take a look back on the year as 2009 comes to a close. So we, the APESHIT goons, asked ourselves, what albums moved us, kicked our asses, and reminded us of why we love metal (and music)? Read on for our top albums of 2009…
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Fredrik Norrman and Mattias Norrman Leave KATATONIA

Longtime guitarist Fredrik Norrman and bassist Mattias Norrman have recently announced their departure from KATATONIA. No permanent replacements have been announced. Here is word directly from the band:

“Sad but true, today’s announcement will be heavy hearted for us to bring to you. We can hereby confirm that the brothers Fredrik ‘North’ Norrman and Mattias ‘Krypt’ Norrman have decided to step off the ride and leave KATATONIA. We respect their decision and would like to take the opportunity to collectively thank them both for all the years gone by, all the up’s and down’s we shared out on the road, in the studio and basically the memories and moments we shared of our 20’s growing up together. Fredrik was with us for 15 years and Mattias for 10 years and we were lucky to have the same intact line-up going since 1999, but it’s true what they say – all good things come to an end.

“Here’s the official statements from the Norrman brothers:

“This is definitely the hardest decision I’ve ever made. It’s absolutely grievous to say the words “quit KATATONIA”, even worse to make it happen. It’s been 15 really good years and I would like to thank the guys in the band and all people that I’ve meet on the road. I’ll now watch KATATONIA from your side…..”

“- Fredrik ‘North’ Norrman

“It’s with great sadness I have decided to leave KATATONIA after 10 fantastic years. This decision was probably the toughest I have ever made. The reason for this is many small factors that makes it hard for me to be away from home this forthcoming year. It’s going to be a lot of touring in the future so the time for this desicion had to be done now. And I will point out that there is no personal argue between us in the band, just that the time for touring isn’t right for me… This is not what I wanted, but family always comes in the first place. I would like to thank Jonas, Anders, Daniel, Fred and our crew for all those years together. It has truly been the best in my life. And a big thanx to all fans and all good friends I have made out there. You are the best and you will be missed… I really hope that one day when the time is right be able to continue the journey with the band. I wish all the best to you guys!! I’m really gonna miss the life on the road with you!”

“- Mattias ‘Krypt’ Norrman”

The band also had this to say:

“We also know that out of the ashes of a setback new possibilities open up. We’ve already found temporary replacements for the upcoming tours and this will not affect any of our agenda or plans for 2010. Currently filling in for Fredrik on guitar will be long time guitar tech and also guitarist of BLOODBATH, mr. Per ‘Sodomizer’ Eriksson while we have Niklas ‘Nille’ Sandin filling Mattias shoes on bass until we decide how to move on with the replaceable positions on a permanent long term.”

KATATONIA – Night is the New Day

For veteran underground metal fans, the release of a new KATATONIA album is always a heralded event. Night is the New Day is the latest progression for KATATONIA‘s unique progressive, dark metal. Sure, there are the band’s melancholic atmospheres and fantastic textures, but this album is not a rerun. The songs here are just as sweeping and powerful but have a fresh yet familiar feel to them. Perhaps this is the band’s most mature and accomplished work yet as exemplified by the way the band play progressive metal/rock and redefine how doom metal can sound. While the album has the trademark muscular guitar/bass riffs, Night is the New Day may be the band’s least heavy album overall. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t any heavy songs or song sections, or that the album lacks power.

The musicianship and creativity on display is inspiring. String instruments, electronics, and piano potently and subtlely add further color and feel. As with every KATATONIA album, you can expect a top-notch production. Night is the New Day is best enjoyed with a great pair of headphones or stereo system.

Night is the New Day is challenging and takes time and focus to truly appreciate everything that went into making this album. However, it doesn’t take many listens to realize that KATATONIA have outdone themselves again and surely put out one of the best albums of the year. (Peaceville Records)

Watch KATATONIA’s New Video for “Day and Then the Shade”

Sweden’s KATATONIA has posted a music video for “Day and Then the Shade,” the first single off their latest release, Night is the New Day, on their official MySpace page (www.myspace.com/katatonia). The new video was directed by Lass Hoile (OPETH, PORCUPINE TREE), and can be seen here.

Night is the New Day is KATATONIA‘s eighth studio album, and their first release since the highly acclaimed, The Great Cold Distance, in 2006. The new record was released in the US this week, on November 10th, via Peaceville Records.

KATATONIA’s Night is the New Day Set for Early November Release

The release date for the new KATATONIA album has gone back slightly. Night is the New Day, is the Swedish masters of melancholy’s eighth studio album and their follow-up to 2006’s groundbreaking album, The Great Cold Distance. The new dates are November 2nd (Europe) and November 10th (North America).

Another studio diary will follow shortly on the band’s facebook page and also keep a look-out for the launch of www.nightisthenewday.com for exclusives and announcements on the final tracklisting, the release of the new single and more.

“They say every night has it’s dawn, we say night is the new day!”

www.katatonia.com
www.nightisthenewday.com

KATATONIA – Live Consternation

Live Consternation is KATATONIA‘s first official live album, recorded August 17, 2006 at the Summerbreeze Open Air Festival in Germany. The release is split between a CD for the audio of the band’s entire set along with a DVD of the performance. Those who have seen KATATONIA live in concert in recent times will see that Live Consternation is a very accurate representation of the band’s current, powerful performances. The band’s 11 song set is comprised of their post-Brave Murder Day era albums, and is focused on their latest The Great Cold Distance. KATATONIA fans will undoubtedly have their personal fave songs from the performance (i.e. a great performance of the underrated “Cold Ways” and the volcanic “Ghost of the Sun“). Soundwise, Live Consternation sounds great with a well-balanced mix between instruments, which helps the sublime and eerie atmospheres to shine through. Visually, the camera work is professional and solid. There are multiple camera views that continuously shift throughout their performance giving the viewer a great well-rounded perspective of that summer night. There are just a few visual effects added in, such as black and white color, split screens, and slow-motion captures, to add additional flavor to the DVD. New and curious fans will be happy to know that all the lyrics to the songs are included. Live Consternation is a worthy addition to any KATATONIA maniac’s collection and is easily one of the better live metal DVD’s out on the market. (Peaceville Records)

Taiwan’s CHTHONIC Prepares for Ozzfest and Album Reissues

This week two albums by Taiwan’s premier metal act CHTHONIC – dubbed the “BLACK SABBATH of Asia” by their home country’s largest newspaper, and soon to be the first-ever Asian act to take part in Ozzfest – will finally be released in North America. Relentless Recurrence, initially released in 2002, and last year’s A Decade on the Throne live double album/DVD will continue the momentum started by the acclaimed Seediq Bale, the group’s first American release.

The music of CHTHONIC (pronounced THON-ick) focuses in part on the history of the Taiwanese people. The band has even christened its upcoming international tour – which will commence in suburban Seattle when the group kicks off the summer’s first Ozzfest – “UNlimited,” in part to protest how the United Nations (UN) limits Taiwan’s full participation as an independent country. (Visit www.myspace.com/CHTHONICtw for more on “UNlimited CHTHONIC, UNlimited Taiwan.”)

Set to a riveting soundtrack of symphonic black metal, Relentless Recurrence relays a Taiwanese folk tale about a demonic ghost hell-bent on revenge. Like the group’s other recordings, the album sees CHTHONIC use a Hena, a traditional Asian instrument comparable to a violin, to emphasize the legend’s sorrow and grief. Meanwhile, A Decade on the Throne is an engrossing live double album/DVD set recorded before a sold-out crowd in the band’s home country, and features guest performances by the so-called Oriental Orchestra as well as the Taipei Ladies’ Choir. It will be released in a lavish digibook with special artwork and a velvet covering.

Though the band’s image is reminiscent of the black metal legends of Scandinavia, CHTHONIC’s use of corpse paint is inspired by the history of their own culture. In Taiwanese folklore, deities known as the “Eight Generals” wear corpse paint to become empowered with Taoist spirits that give them the power to judge good and evil. It is this spirit that the band conveys on stage.

CHTHONIC has been pushing boundaries throughout their career, and having singlehandedly launched an extreme metal scene in their home country, the group now sets their sights squarely on the rest of the world. The band will continue taking its music abroad in August when it performs at Wacken Open Air, Germany’s largest annual metal festival, and it will embark on its first full European tour this fall. And though CHTHONIC — like all rotating second-stage Ozzfest bands — will have just 20 minutes to make its case on tour this summer, the group hopes its message reverberates long after their final notes are played.

CHTHONICUNlimited” tour dates (more dates TBA):
7/12 White River Amphitheatre – Seattle, WA (Ozzfest)
7/13 Studio Seven – Seattle, WA*
7/14 The Gorge – George, WA (Ozzfest)
7/15 Roseland Theater – Portland, OR*
7/17 Sleep Train Amphitheatre – Sacramento, CA (Ozzfest)
7/18 The Boardwalk – Orangevale, CA*
7/19 Shoreline Amphitheatre – San Francisco, CA (Ozzfest)
7/20 Galaxy Theatre – Santa Ana, CA*
7/21 Hyundai Pavilion – Los Angeles, CA (Ozzfest)
7/22 Orpheum Theatre – Flagstaff, AZ*
7/23 House of Blues – Hollywood, CA*
7/24 Cricket Pavilion – Phoenix, AZ (Ozzfest)
7/25 Launch Pad – Albuquerque, NM*
7/26 Journal Pavilion – Albuquerque, NM (Ozzfest)
7/27 Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO*
7/28 Coors Amphitheatre – Denver, CO (Ozzfest)
7/30 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater – Kansas City, MO (Ozzfest)
7/31 Bob’s – Tulsa, OK*
8/02 Smirnoff Music Center – Dallas, TX (Ozzfest)
8/03 Wacken Open Air Festival – Wacken, Germany
8/06 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre – St. Louis, MO (Ozzfest)
8/07 Pearl Room – Mokena, IL*
8/08 Germain Amphitheatre – Columbus, OH (Ozzfest)
8/09 Peabody’s – Cleveland, OH*
8/10 First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre – Chicago, IL (Ozzfest)
8/11 Station 4 – St. Paul, MN*
8/12 Alpine Valley Music Theatre – Milwaukee, WI (Ozzfest)
8/13 Forest Hills Lodge – Rockford, IL*
8/14 Verizon Wireless Music theatre – Indianapolis, IN (Ozzfest)
8/15 The Silo – Reading, PA*
8/16 PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ (Ozzfest)
8/17 Mark’s Showplace – Bedford, NH*
8/18 New England Dodge Music Theatre – Hartford, CT (Ozzfest)
8/19 The Chance – Poughkeepsie, NY*
8/20 Tweeter Center – Boston, MA (Ozzfest)
8/21 B.B. King’s – New York, NY*
8/22 Tweeter Center – Philadelphia, PA (Ozzfest)
8/23 Huntington Music Hall – Huntington, WV*
8/24 Post Gazette Pavilion – Pittsburgh, PA (Ozzfest)
8/25 Harpos – Detroit, MI*
8/26 DTE Energy Music Theatre – Detroit, MI (Ozzfest)
8/27 Jaxx – West Springfield, VA*
8/28 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre – Charlotte, NC (Ozzfest)
8/29 The Haven – Winter Park, FL*
8/30 Sound Advice Amphitheatre – West Palm Beach, FL (Ozzfest)
9/01 The Muse – Nashville, TN
9/02 Uncle Pleasant’s – Louisville, KY
9/05 Penny Arcade – Rochester, NY
9/06 B.B. King’s – New York, NY**
9/07 The Funhaus – Toronto, Ont.
9/08 The Embassy – London, Ont.
9/09 Peabody’s – Cleveland, OH
9/16 Jaxx – West Springfield, VA

* with NILE
** with KATATONIA

KATATONIA to Return to the US this Fall

Sweden’s KATATONIA will return to headline their first American tour this fall. Kicking of September 4, the tour will make nineteen stops around the country and will feature an all European line-up with Sweden’s SCAR SYMMETRY joining up with Finland’s INSOMNIUM and SWALLOW THE SUN.

The tour, beginning in Springfield, Virginia will be KATATONIA‘s second visit to the US in a year, the band making their stateside touring debut last fall performing alongside MOONSPELL and North Carolina-based DAYLIGHT DIES. Touring in support of their first live album, Live Consternation, it will be the first time long-time American fans will be able to experience a full set from the highly acclaimed band. Live Consternation, set for American release June 5, is a stunning 5.01 cd/2.0 DVD package features selections from the band’s successful 2006 album, The Great Cold Distance, and choice cuts from their growing and popular catalog.

On-going acclaim for SCAR SYMMETRY‘s 2006 album, Pitch Black Progress, has yielded a second tour of North America for the melodic death metallers from Sweden.

INSOMNIUM will make their stateside debut performing selections from their current/third album, Above the Weeping World. “This is by far the best INSOMNIUM album”, says vocalist/bassist Niilo Sevänen. “It is the first time we feel we really succeeded in the studio. As a band we are very happy with the end result.” Formed in 1997, INSOMNIUM recorded two demos before signing with Candlelight Records.

Hope is the third album from rising Finnish doom/death band SWALLOW THE SUN. Featuring a guest appearance by KATATONIA vocalist Jonas Renske the album charted in the band’s home country of Finland upon its release. The tour will be the band’s first of America and comes as the band’s profile is rising internationally.

Confirmed dates as of press time are as noted. Ticket on sale information to follow.

Sep-04, Jaxx Nite Club (West Springfield VA)
Sep-06, BB King Blues Club (New York NY)
Sep-07, Mark’s Showplace (Bedford NH)
Sep-08, Chance Theater (Poughkeepsie NY)
Sep-09, Le Medley (Montreal QU)
Sep-10, Imperial de Quebec (Quebec City QU)
Sep-11, The Funhaus (Toronto ON)
Sep-12, Peabody’s (Cleveland OH)
Sep-13, I-Rock (Detroit MI)
Sep-14, The Pearl Room (Mokena IL)
Sep-15, Station 4 (St. Paul MN)
Sep-17, Bluebird Theater (Denver CO)
Sep-19, Whiskey-A-Go-Go (West Hollywood CA)
Sep-20, Showcase Theater (Corona CA)
Sep-21, Brickhouse (Phoenix AZ)
Sep-22, Launchpad (Albuqeruque NM)
Sep-24, White Rabbit (San Antonio TX)
Sep-25, Ridglea Theater (Ft. Worth TX)
Sep-26, Scout Bar (Houston TX)

KATATONIA’s Live Consternation Hits Stores May 28th

KATATONIA will release a 2-disc CD/DVD set entitled Live Consternation on May 28th. The release is a live recording from their performance at the Summerbreeze Festival in Germany in 2006. A mini-site has been launched to promote the upcoming release. The site includes details about the release, plus video & audio previews from the concert, downloadable wallpaper and screenshot gallery as well as a chance to pre-order an exclusive signed copy (limited to 1,000 copies).

Check out the mini-site: http://peaceville.com/liveconsternation

KATATONIA: Viva the Great New Misery

To say that KATATONIA are one of the best exports out of Sweden is an understatement. Starting out as a death/doom band 16 years ago, they’ve carved out several niches with each evolution of their sound. Their groundbreaking early to mid-era sound of infectious, melodic guitar leads played over down stroked eighth notes has influenced more than a few bands around the world. However, it’s their last couple of albums that has seen the biggest growth from the band with their ever growing dark somber tones, progressive-minded riffs, and growing songwriting prowess. APESHIT spoke with founding member/guitarist Anders Nystrom during their first U.S. tour last Fall to learn more about their past struggles, their brilliant new album, The Great Cold Distance, and the fight to claim the success that they deserve.

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