Katatonia, Solstafir, SOM in Frankfurt
23-02-2023, Frankfurt, Batschkapp, Germany
With Katatonia and Sólstafir, the masters of melancholy & gloom are currently touring Europe. They are supported by the US Americans SOM, who were unknown to me until now. This unique package of bands managed to fill the Batschkapp very well even on a Thursday, and one thing in advance: It should be an unforgettable evening.
SOM opened punctually at 19.00 in front of a considerable number of spectators and immediately the first notes made clear where the journey will lead: Very dark and bombastic doom metal with ultra brutal guitars and clean vocals plus appealing sound effect, which puts a distinctive mark on those guys’ song material. The entire stage is bathed in green light, just like Type O’Negative back in the day, and I feel like I’ve been transported back years on occasion. At this point I have to praise the sound engineer for the brilliant sound which blasts the audience’s ears. SOM focus on melody, but their song material is also very expressive, provides the necessary depth and powerful guitars. They deliberately skip announcements. Instead, they connect the songs with skilful transitions, and then hit the full capacity out of the PA again. The US Americans receive a lot of applause by the Frankfurt audience after their about 40 minute set. A very successful gig – thumbs up for SOM !!!
2. Awake – Sedate
5. Black Out The Sky
6. Youth – Decay
The popularity of Sólstafir is obvious in the audience before their appearance on stage and if you ask yourself whether the band can live up to such prevailing enthusiastic expectation, you can confidently answer this question with yes. Full of positive energy, the Icelanders open their set with the atmospheric “Köld” and show how gifted they are as musicians.
Frontman Aðalbjörn Tryggvason impresses not only with his guitar playing, but also with his unique and beautiful voice and sweeps across the stage like a whirlwind. The music of this band is simple-structured, but it touches the soul and awakens feelings that can only be described as grandiose.
The fans thank them with more than applause and celebrate the band. Sólstafir quickly bring the audience to the brink of ecstasy and know how to convince all along the line. Especially the songs “Melrakkablús” and “Fjara” from the album “Svartir Sdandar” induce storms of enthusiasm. With “Goddess of the Ages”, Sólstafir closed a memorable gig, which contained everything a metalhead’s heart desires and what makes music the most beautiful thing in the world. Thank you, Sólstafir !!!
7. Goddess Of The Ages
And whoever thought that this gig couldn’t be topped, should otherwise be correct. But in this case you shouldn’t do the math without Katatonia ….. Unbelievable, the guys around Jonas Renkse are in top form and they more than live up to their status as headliners. Right at the beginning of their performance, Katatonia present with “Austerity” and “Colossal Shade” 2 songs from their new album “Sky Void Of Stars”, both first class songs as only Katatonia can write them.
The band immediately captivates the fans and is euphorically supported by the audience. They present themselves as extremely playful and eager to move, and what strikes me especially positively is the rather unusual openness of front man Jonas Renkse, who is always looking for audience contact, not hiding his face under his shock of hair as usual. Only time will tell whether this is an exceptional occasion tonight or not. In any case, this new form of performance suits him very well and I’m not alone with the opinion that it also has a motivating effect on the rest of Katatonia. The replacement for Anders Nyström on guitar, Nico Elgstrand (Ex-Entombed), explicitly introduced by Jonas, does an excellent job and fits well into the band structure.
In the middle of the set, the Swedes play some older songs, before they add two songs from the new album with “Birds” and again towards the end of the gig with “Atrium”. Sound-wise it’s perfect and clear in every Batschkapp corner, just like for SOM and Sólstafir, a pleasure to listen to. With “Untrodden” from the “City Burials” album they close the actual set, which is followed with “July” and “Evidence” as the loudly demanded encores. A killer show !!!
Personally, I have seen Katatonia live countless of times, but what the band offered today, I would not have expected. The fans all went home satisfied because of this amazing concert evening …
2. Colossal Shade
7. Behind the Blood
10. My Twin
12. Old Heart Falls
Text: Hanzi Herrmann
Fotos: Roksana Helscher