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Kallocain CD Cover
Image © InsideOut Music 2005

Image © InsideOut Music 2005

(23 May 2005) Killocain (InsideOut Music (USA) IOMCD 169, 2005) is the second album from Paatos following their 2002 debut Timeloss. The band’s roots are in the 90's Swedish progressive rock scene, as the original Paatos line-up included both bassist Stefan Dimle and guitarist Reine Fiske from the band Landberk. Since then, Fiske has left to be replaced by Peter Nylander and the sound has edged away marginally from Landberk’s dark and sombre progressive sound to a more melodic and spacious feel.

Much of the music on Killocain has a powerful sense of rhythm, whether it’s based in the impressive and solid drumwork of Ricard Huxflux Nettermalm, or in the more esoteric soundscapes that underpin a number of the tracks. One of the most impressive aspects of this album is the variety of approaches to the pieces together with their tonal range. They are never afraid to cut the music back to the bare minimum to create the feel they're looking for. It appears there's no obligation for every member iof the band to play on every track, something a lot of bands could learn from. Each song brings something new and keeps the listener guessing to the end. This is apparent from the beginning; the opening 45 seconds of the album is a violin cadenza!

In addition to the obvious Scandinavian progressive aspects of the sound--think of White Willow as a sister band--the music has other echoes that can be traced to the Cocteau Twin--on the opening song "Gasoline," there are moments when vocalist Petronella Nettermalm sounds uncannily like Elizabeth Fraser and the perhaps overlong "Reality" has a Portishead feel. At other times, there’s an essence of that fine Manchester band Lamb, and on parts of "Won’t Be Coming Back" there’s more than a hint of classic Renaissance, albeit updated for the 21st century. "Happiness," the most immediate track on the album has a great hook, and a feel that bought to mind the tremendous Finnish band Kemopetrol.

Petronella's vocals have a ethereal feel. Sometime the words are sung in little more than an hypnotic whisper, which contrasts beautifully with the power of the band on some tracks and yet compliments them superbly on the more atmospheric pieces like "Stream" where keyboardist Johan Wallen creates a wonderful backdrop firstly with piano and latterly with mellotron.

The album is mixed by Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson and the sound quality of the recording is excellent. The finest track on the album is possibly "Holding On" with its spacious backdrop, gorgeous cello lines and wonderfully delivered vocal, or maybe "Absinth Minded" which builds from a simple 'backwards' opening to an immensely powerful piece awash with mellotron. But in truth, depending on the mood you're in, on each play it's likely that a different track will grab your attention.--Jamie Field in Hereford, England

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