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Black Sessions Box set

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (21 Feb. 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Peaceville
  • ASIN: B00079RNFE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 325,411 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

everything to like about this collection as it is the very best of katatonia, swedish doom metal kings!, bonus is the live DVD in Krakow, you could not go wrong buying this cd as an abridged way of adding as much Katatonia to your metal collection without buying every single release from this band, but as for me i bought it to complete my collection and for the DVD, if you like these guys try Day Light Dies also a great band from the USA but similar in some ways.

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The DVD is the best part of this set with a track list that covers for me some of the best songs they've done. The two CD's are a good introduction to Katatonia however you'd probably be better off buying the re-released versions of the 4 albums covered here instead of this set as once you hear them you'll want to have all the tracks from those albums.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have listened this band about 9 years. This compilation includes almost all the good songs, Katatonia-albums has very much filler songs. And the live-DVD is very nice. I like watch liveDVDs. OK, band is visually dull and Jonas and audience (polish, again) have no energy, but setlist is perfect and 5.1 audio sounds very good. This box is very nice looking. So this is all i want for Katatonia right now.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8888d0cc) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8875fa14) out of 5 stars A Fair Warning... 22 Aug. 2006
By IcemanJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I love Katatonia as much as any fan. However, this box set is a bit disappointing. Here's why.

I like "Brave Yester Days" (a similar collection of early material) so much because it contains all the songs from now out-of-print EP's and singles and condenses them into a handy listening experience. It has the songs from full-length albums too, but only one or two from each album.

For this collection, there is not nearly enough "unreleased" material that Katatonia has done in these years to include on it. Honestly, there doesn't need to be two CD's of material. They throw half of "Tonight's Decision" on here (7 songs), three-fourths of "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" (7 out of 11 songs), five songs from "Discouraged Ones" and six songs from "Viva Emptiness." Now, I'll agree that there are so many good songs on these albums that it's hard to pick one or two favorites but that's why I (and any fan should) have the original album to listen to.

The Math

On 2 CD's there are 30 Songs.

2 are from "Tonight's Music" EP.

2 are from "Teargas" EP.

1 is previously unreleased from "Viva Emptiness" sessions.

That makes 5 that are unreleased or were only on EP's.

The other 25 are all on the albums mentioned above.

So in reality I'm spending money on one CD that I already have all the songs on originals, and one CD with only 25 minutes of music that I don't have. It is just a bunch of extra fluff so the record company to make more money. They could have at least waited to release this until "The Great Cold Distance" came out 9 months later and included the songs from the singles from that album. That would have been enough to make a double album I think. One may ask, "Then why did you go ahead and spend money on it?" Well, I didn't sit there and study the tracklisting before I bought it. I saw some songs I wasn't familiar with and some that I was. I also am content for buying it simply for the few unreleased songs anyways because Katatonia is one of my very favorite bands, and of course, the DVD is a little extra bonus. Dedicated fans will probably buy this reguardless (and most likely, have already - I waited a long time) so I would assume mostly casual fans or people just getting into the band are reading this and I would not particularly recommend it to either. Both casual and brand new fans are only getting five new songs that they can't get anywhere else and they really should eventually buy the four albums outlined here anyway.

I would also like to point out all the tracks are in completely random order, which I personally don't like... I would like to see how the band's sound has changed throughout the years by having the songs in order (just like on "Brave Yester Days").

As for the actual quality of the previously unreleased / EP only songs, they are pretty much just as good as any Katatonia material; nothing exceptionally outstanding for the band, but nothing to scoff at either. "Sulfur" is probably the best "new" song, and one of the band's longer songs; starting off with a very melodic, atmospheric clean riff and harmonization for a good minute and a half, before being bombarded with heaviness, switching between very mellow versus and quite powerful and melodic choruses, like many of their songs. This is a very good quality track that would have fit right into "Last Fair Deal Gone Down."

On a good note, the packaging is really nice, there's a booklet with all the song lyrics and tons of Travis Smith artwork. Each CD lists, all the songs, their length, and what albums they're from, all contained in a nice quality "box."

Live DVD

The DVD is pretty good; decent cinematography, except for a few montages which have extremely quick cuts that are almost dizzying. Jonas could be a little more interactive, he doesn't look too excited to be there. Maybe he's always like that; it would explain the mood in the band's general sound... who knows. Near the end the band announces their last song is "Evidence," and when they are done the crowd urges them to continue, and they do so and add in "Deadhouse" and "Murder" which must have been somewhat a surprise. These last two songs seem to be the most energetic for both the band and the crowd and "Murder" is a much more appropriate ending to the set.

The sound quality is pretty good; I don't have any complaints about it. The set list is nice, very well-rounded, they've got at least something from each full album out at the time except "Dance of December Souls" which isn't surprising.

Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of Live DVD's in the first place; they don't have too much replay-value. I would rather have a live CD so I could listen to it anywhere instead of having to watch it (or at least, have a computer or DVD player nearby to listen to).

So, to sum up, a decent box set for dedicated fans, not something I would particularly recommend to new or casual fans, too much "fluff" from old albums unnecessarily making a double-disc set, and a pretty good live DVD.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8875fa68) out of 5 stars Good Representation of Katatonia 1998-2004 9 May 2005
By PhiloNine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Katatonia's _Black Sessions_, while not containing as many rare gems as the _Brave Yesterdays_ compilation, contains the better music. Around 1997 the band made a definitive move to more conventional song structures and ditched the death metal vocals. While Katatonia's earlier recordings are probably more historically significant to the death/doom scene of the early 90's (see also: Paradise Lost or Anathema), the band's early works were understandably more primitive and stylistically constrained than the recordings here, which give a generous retrospective of the last four sorrowful Katatonia offerings: _Discouraged Ones_, _Tonight's Decision_, _Last Fair Deal Gone Down_ and _Viva Emptiness_. While the track selection from _Discouraged Ones_ is thoughtful, and I very much appreciated the generous seven-track glimpse of _Tonight's Decision_ (an album not in my collection) in my opinion it really took them until 2001's _Last Fair Deal Gone Down_ to really perfect their alt.goth makeover. This is coincidententally also the first full album that doesn't feature vocalist Jonas Renske also handling drum duty. Both it and last year's shockingly good _Viva Emptiness_ benefit from more rhythmic dynamicism, better vocals and production, and more textured, nuanced songwriting. Compare the rolling "Omerta", the jaw-droppingly brutal "Ghost Of The Sun" or _LFDGD_ opener "Dispossession", to more plodding _Discouraged Ones_-era album tracks like "Nerve" for an illustration of the difference. The tracks are mixed up which makes a straight-arrow listen of both CDs much easier, though no less taxing on the happier parts of the listener's soul. For a summary of the non-album wares, we have "Sulfur" and "March 4" from the _Teargas_ EP, "Help Me Disappear" and "O How I Enjoy The Light", from _Tonight's Music_ EP, the solid "Wait Outside" from the _Viva Emptiness Sessions_. If you include "Fractured" and "No Devotion" (from a limited-edition re-release of _Tonight's Decision_) that's a solid seven non-album tracks, not a bad haul considering how difficult Katatonia's EPs are to find over here. The set's value is also redeemed by the live DVD that comprises Disc 3's content and the packaging, including lyrics. A nice-sounding performance (even though the band was apparently not as happy with it), both it and a well-rounded song selection help round out a decent collection.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8875fea0) out of 5 stars A nice wrapup 25 April 2006
By Sea Tac - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Katatonia are, without a doubt, one of the best and most original of modern rock bands, albeit with a dark, morose, heavy almost Cure-like atmosphere about them which has kept them from gaining the mainstream attention that they deserve. Due to their very un-radio friendly vibe, depressing lyrics, and therefore being almost completely ignored by American audiences, a majority of their large catalog of work has been very hard to find here in the States, mostly rare EP's and singles being left out of mainstream record stores, but unfortunately the sweeping dark pop metal of the albums Last Fair Deal Gone Down and Tonight's Decision also are among the hard to find releases by this great band. The two-disc compilation Brave Yester Days solved this problem for the first half of the bands career, during which their focus on doom metal was completely rounded out, including every unreleased track from the early era. The Black Sessions continues this tradition, compiling a two disc greatest hits type of collection from the Discouraged Ones album all the way up until Viva Emptiness, including unreleased music from the Teargas EP as well as the Tonight's Music single, not to mention the rocking undocumented Wait Outside from the Viva Emptiness album, and therefore the track which merits the most praise towards the band. For newcomers to Katatonia, this is an outstanding place to start if anyone is interested in getting into the bands most recent work, featuring a fine collection of tracks, among my favorites of which are the dreary, distortion drenched lost love ballad of Teargas, the melancholic Passing Bird, the metal blastbeat drumming of Sleeper, and the anthematic Omerta and Evidence. A wrapup of the bands finest tracks is hard to find, and sadly favorites of mine such as Instrumental, Saw You Drown, and Burn The Remembrance are not included as studio tracks are not included, although the latter appears on the live DVD.

Which brings us to the second half of the release, which is Katatonia's first official live documentation, featuring a performance in Krakow, Poland during the promotional tour for Viva Emptiness. The band performs a varied set of music from the four albums which Black Sessions encompasses, and even close on a surprising number with Brave Murder Day's Murder, Jonas Renske despairingly howling his way through one of the bands best doom metal numbers. Unfortunately the performance isn't quite as satisfying as I was expecting, although the band hit every note perfectly. Renske rarely leaves his microphone stand during the performance, nor do any of the band members really interact with the audience or more importantly, with each other and sadly, they just look bored throughout the set. The audience, who is the most uninterested and boring group of fans I've ever laid eyes on, certainly wasn't contributing to the vibe either. The performance is filmed quite well however, although the cameras fall into the trap which many live DVDs often lose value from, the views shifting too quickly for anyone to get a clear look at what any of the musicians are playing. One track which is sadly missing is Sleeper, which I wanted to see strictly for Daniel Liljekvist's monstrous drumming, but his middle finger to the camera during the end of the live set is almost worth the loss. At least they play Burn The Remembrance.

One cannot forget the creepy, haunted artwork which spans the collection's book either, the cover of which seems to signify the end of this latest era for the band, the ghost-like businessman who has adorned previous album artwork lying buried beneath a pile of rocks, his hat hanging on a stick above him. Apparently Katatonia mean to move forward from this imagery with The Great Cold Distance (which I have yet to hear.) As for seasoned fans, one of which I am, the set is still worth the purchase, even if you already own Last Fair Deal Gone Down and Tonight's Decision, the reissues of which include all the unreleased tracks included here aside from Wait Outside. You still get a collection of the bands most commercial friendly songs, an unreleased track, and a live performance for the fairly high price, and in my opinion is worth it no matter what your status with the band. For a greatest hits collection actually worth purchasing, as well as a document of one of the lyrically darkest, most original bands on the rock scene today, get Black Sessions. It will be a must-have one day, when this band is gone and finally appreciated.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x884c4288) out of 5 stars Excellent mix of recent works. 10 July 2005
By Warren Doyle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
"Black sessions" is a fine represenation of this wonderful band's last four albums. B-sides from each are featured here. One in particular: "Wait outside" a b-side from Viva Emptiness is an amazing song, brilliant. "Sulfur" is also an incredible song, b-side from Last Fair Deal....

This is a great way to introduce someone to the band, should be interested.

The live DVD gig in Poland is also very good, where the band puts on a very tight show.

Recommended to all fans.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x884c436c) out of 5 stars A massive collection of the modern Katatonia, but not enough rare material to be essential. 23 Nov. 2006
By Ben Stubbs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
"The Black Sessions" is the second of the two Katatonia compilations (the first being "Brave Yester Days" to be released in consecutive years. While the "Brave Yester Days" compilation covered the bands earlier period (from 1992 through 1998), "The Black Sessions" covers the bands output from 1998 through to 2003. So there's no death / doom material here, it's all in the depressive rock vein that they evolved towards through the mid nineties. The other striking difference is that this compilation contains not only two CDs worth of material, but also a bonus live DVD recorded in Krakow, Poland. Basically, the 2 CDs contain tracks from "Discouraged Ones", "Tonight's Decision", "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" and "Viva Emptiness". These are all great releases and so the level of quality amongst the tracks is very high as expected.

But what most fans will be interested in is what rare and unreleased tracks are on here as well as what the quality of the live DVD is. As for rare material, there is only one previously unreleased track which is "Wait Outside". This track was recorded in the "Viva Emptiness" sessions and is a fairly decent one too, although nothing to get too excited about. There are also two tracks that were released as bonus tracks on the slip-case reissue of "Tonight's Decision". These tracks are titled "No Devotion" and "Fractured". These tracks are of less value and I think it was correct to leave them off the original release of that album. Finally, they have included both the "Teargas" and "Tonight's Music" EPs in there entirety, which are difficult to get your hands on these days. The two original tracks on the "Teargas" EP are excellent, with "Sulfur" being a particular highlight. The two original tracks on the "Tonight's Music" EP are not really very good, which is a shame since the title track is one of Katatonia's greatest moments. So, in general, there are only a few bits and pieces on here to get excited about, and for those (like myself) who already own the albums and EPs, there's almost nothing.

Which brings me to the DVD. Now don't get me wrong, Katatonia are a wonderful band. One of my favourites in fact! But they just don't seem to be able to recreate the atmosphere of the studio albums when performing live. Jonas in particular doesn't have any energy on stage and his vocals are a little lacking. The sound in general is decent enough and the tracklisting is also ok. There isn't much here for fans of their early material which is expected since they've left that sound far behind. I don't have too many complaints about the DVD, but can't say I found it tremendously exciting. I doubt I will watch it very often at all.

Overall, I'd recommend "The Black Sessions" only to the completists out there that have to have everything the band releases, or the casual fan that wants a blueprint of Katatonia's output without collecting all of their albums. Then again, if you don't have the "Teargas" EP, try tracking it down or purchase this compilation for that alone. There's still an awesome array of quality tracks on here, but in my opinion, it just doesn't contain enough unreleased and rare material as the "Brave Yester Days" compilation, which is a tad disappointing.
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