Friday nights are for metal and on Friday the 9th of December, Swedish metal band, Katatonia filled The Gov with all that was heavy. There was a certain vibe as everyone gathered: the pierced, the tattooed, the corset wearing, the fans with cutting edge haircuts—it was expectant of great things.

The two opening acts were absolutely perfect. Adelaide’s own Overview Effect and Dyssidia both had the same feel with complex music that drew your attention like a moth to a flame. But that was just about where the similarities stopped. Psychedelic-like rock elements and haunting vocals combined to create Overview Effect’s sound. Vocalist, Felicia Tassone’s voice was so pure, and every move she made emphasised the music being created behind her. With one foot firmly in a world of post rock, and the other floating around in some alternate realm where sound becomes visible, this band was hypnotising.

On the other hand, Dyssidia was arresting. With sporadic screams and escalating riffs, they were stunning to absorb, both visually and audibly. They were definitely a progressive band, technical and on point with all of their tempo and melody changes. Vocalist, Mitch Brackman deserves a mention here; his ability to growl in such a rough manner and effortlessly slide into clean and light vocals that exhibit such a range of octaves, was truly impressive.

When Katatonia stepped up, the crowd was ready and, from behind a curtain of dark hair, vocalist, Jonas Renske soared into ‘Last Song’. From the beginning, it was obvious this was an out of body experience for the long-time fans. Eyes were closed and faces turned up to the stage while Katatonia created their dark, melodic metal. They knew how to drop it lower and heavier, reminiscent of their death metal days, and when they broke out ‘Leaders’, heads were banging and hair flying.

When you have a back catalogue of 10 albums, you have a lot of songs to choose from. They played a decent mixture of old and new songs with Jonas announcing to the crowd that they were going to go back in time to a song called ‘Teargas’—off their album, Last Fair Deal Gone Down. That brought along synchronised head banging from the guitarists and bassist, and Katatonia know how to flick their hair. In the mix was also ‘Serein’, ‘Day & Shade’, ‘Evidence’ and ‘Old Heart Falls’, just to name a few.

They ended their set on ‘Forsaker’, a song thick with chugging riffs and captivating vocals and then they took a bow and left the stage. The crowd cheered and chanted for a good few minutes until they returned, grinning, to play a three song encore: ‘My Twin’, ‘Lethean’ and ‘July’.

To have these Swedish metal giants visit Adelaide and bring their complex albums to life was, simply put, incredible. They sent shards of metal shooting through your blood and that’s not something you’ll be able to get rid of any time soon.

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Photo: Ester Segarra

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