Sweden’s Katatonia is a band of pleasing contradictions, one that combines differing elements into a darkly emotive blend of sound. While watching them perform at New York’s Irving Plaza on September 24th, those paradoxes came to the fore, mostly to the band’s advantage. Onstage it’s not physically stoic (considering the act’s name, that wouldn’t be a surprise), but its players don’t run amok like sugar-stoned toddlers, either, and singer Jonas Renkse kept his face hidden behind his curtain of long dark hair like a grieving widow, never showing his face. Despite being a progenitor of the doom genre, its set list didn’t sound depressing or disturbing enough to be described as black. Its uptempo moments weren’t consistent enough to be straight metal; the same goes for its progressive characteristics.

“To follow your own vision without compromising and conforming to other people’s demands and expectations would make you a king in what people would just define as a dead end”, says Katatonia’s guitarist Anders Nyström when referring to the title of the band’s ninth full-length album Dead End Kings. Despite being around for more than 20 years, these Swedish purveyors of heavy, gloomy soundscapes and dark, melancholic lyrics still keep pushing their own musical boundaries. “Stylistically”, Nyström acknowledges, “it continues where the last album Night Is The New Day ended, but once again we’ve tried to sharpen the sword in terms of performances and the sound. The rest is up to our listeners to discover….”

Swedish dark rock/metal heavyweight, Katatonia, has launched a promotional video for its upcoming “Epic Kings & Idols” North American tour. The clip features the brand new song, “Buildings,” in its entirety, taken from the band’s impending ninth studio album, Dead End Kings, out August 28th via Peaceville Records. Check it right now, just below.

I had the opportunity to speak with Anders, co-founder of Katatonia together with Jonas Renkse. It was the last day of their tour as Opeth’s supporting acts on the “Heritage Tour”. Niklas Sandin and Daniel Liljekvist (bassist and drummer respectively) were present too. Here’s what Anders had to say, about their music, relationships in their bands, and metal hair.