"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Katatonia - "Sanctitude" (DVD)

Katatonia - "Sanctitude" DVD cover image

"Sanctitude" track listing:

1. In The White
2. Ambitions
3. Teargas
4. Gone
5. A Darkness Coming
6. One Year From Now
7. The Racing Heart
8. Tonight's Music
9. Sleeper
10. Undo You
11. Lethean
12. Day
13. Idle Blood
14. Unfurl
15. Omerta
16. Evidence
17. The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here

Concert Film (80 mins)
Documentary "Beyond The Chapel" (66 mins)

Reviewed by on April 4, 2015

"Unquestionably, “Sanctitude” is one for the Katatonia fanatics (or for your non-metal head friends and family who like less heavy offerings), and not for those who just like the heavier stuff."

Following “Last Fair Day Gone Night,” Katatonia is already back with another live offering: “Sanctitude.” This live CD/DVD outing comes from the melancholic Swedish band's tour in support of “Dethroned & Uncrowned," a re-working of the "Dead End Kings" album that goes in a less heavy and more prog rock direction.

Those familiar with the band's sound may wonder why it needed to be toned down even further and find themselves dreading that Katatonia is going the direction of Opeth, ditching the heaviness altogether. In this case that might actually not be a disaster, since everything Katatonia has done since about '98 has been less extreme, and frankly Katatonia does the rock sound better. While the heavy guitars and drum beats have been culled, these version of the material actually work really well, and the darkness hasn't been pulled with the plugs.

Speak of, although its billed as “unplugged,” these aren't actually fully acoustic songs – there are still electric guitars and keyboards, its just non-metal versions. In addition to songs from “Dethroned & Uncrowned,” Katatonia also gave the calming treatment to songs from “Discouraged Ones,” “Last Fair Deal Gone Down,” and “Viva Emptiness” for the performance. The songs are easily recognizable, but in some instances have drastic changes: “Evidence” for instance is filled with bongos instead of drums.

The tracks on the CD and DVD are both the same, so you can have the new versions of the songs in your musical collection, but seeing the actual performance on the DVD is really the big draw here. There's a fantastic Gothic atmosphere with candles lined across the stage in front of the old European architecture of London's Union Chapel, and its a great chance to see what Katatonia does without having to actually fly across the globe. At the end of the show for the encore, Katatonia brings out Silve Wergerland of The Gathering for a surprise duet on “The One You Are Looking For Is Not Here.” Rounding out the DVD side of the release is an hour long bonus documentary clip featuring an extended interview segment with Jonas and Anders answering fan questions about the tour.

Unquestionably, “Sanctitude” is one for the Katatonia fanatics (or for your non-metal head friends and family who like less heavy offerings), and not for those who just like the heavier stuff. If you dig the classic '98 – '03 era of the band, or enjoyed softer DVDs from metal bands like Opeth's “Lamentations,” the performance and accompanying CD are well worth the price of admission.

Highs: Gothic atmosphere and interesting re-workings of classic songs

Lows: Total lack of heaviness, and the band's interactions with the crowd consist almost entirely of the words "thank you so much."

Bottom line: Katatonia shows off less heavy, re-worked versions of songs from both "Dead End Kings" and the classic '98 - '03 era.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)