Katatonia’s 10th full-length album, Dethroned & Uncrowned, is an acoustic reinterpretation of the band’s eclectic 2012 disc Dead End Kings. However, Dethroned isn’t merely an unplugged version of its predecessor. For each song, Katatonia have retained only the guide vocal and completely rewritten everything else, creating a melancholy, beautiful album that proves how poignant the band remains even without the heaviness that helped define the album.
Throughout songs like “The Parting” and “Dead Letters,” Katatonia make up for the dynamic contrasts by presenting a new range of sounds, including resonant strumming, delicately plucked guitar lines, mournful strings and evocative synth and piano arrangements. Many of these elements were present in some form on the original album, but here they become the main ingredients and bring the music more in line with Opeth and Pink Floyd, and less with My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost. Even the more delicate cuts from Dead End Kings, such as “Leech” and “Hypnone” receive makeovers that leave the originals sounding savage by comparison. Dethroned & Uncrowned probably won’t appeal to listeners who require heavy with their metal, but for those who value strong progressive songwriting and emotional expression over sheer volume may end up preferring these versions to the originals.