Since the June 2004 release of the album Kallocain, produced by Porcupine Trees creative mastermind Steven Wilson, the quintet from Stockholm have marched on relentlessly! Paatos have so far received nothing but praise from the media and fans of Post-Rock, Progressive Rock, and avant-garde music in general, and will be launching a European tour with The Gathering, who have made a reputable name for themselves in the avant-garde scene. To coincide with these live dates, Inside Out Music is releasing worldwide Paatos' debut album Timeloss, previously only available in Sweden. The reissue version offers a brand new booklet, extended from 8 to 16 pages, as well as a bonus video featuring the album track Hypnotique as a Quicktime file, playable on all personal computers.
The voice of Petronella Nettermalm has an irresistably mysterious and haunting quality that draws you in and keeps you under her spell. The album opens with a high-energy assault reminscent of the wild years of Grace Slick then segues into the dreamy entrancing style that has become her trademark on the next three songs. Of these, Hypnotique is especially delicious. As the reviewer from Istanbul wrote, the final song is the most modern-sounding of the five. There is a much harder edge and it offers some spirited drum work by Petronella's husband Huxflux. But the clanging dissonance in the final sequences spoils the rest of the song and for me ends the album on a sour note. Then I have to listen to the album over again to remind myself how good it really is! The booklet that accompanies the CD features both lyrics and pictures that add value to the package.
If you are musically adventurous and open-minded and have not yet heard Paatos, then start with Timeloss and buy the rest as well. I subtract one star for the album's brevity (around 40 minutes) and for the cacophonous ending I described. Otherwise, this is a keeper.
Timeloss is the Swedish band's debut reissue by Inside Out with an extended booklet and a bonus video of the song "Hypnotique". Before I played the album, I took a look in the booklet and saw they thanked bands like Opeth, Mikael Akerdeldt, Anekdoten and Katatonia amongst others. Thus, I kind of knew what to expect from this disc. With a female singer named Petronella Nettermalm (who also plays some cello) that reportedly sounds like Bjork (though I wouldn't know since I've never heard any Bjork albums) and her husband Huxflux Nettermalm behind the drums, Paatos' debut immediately reminds me of three bands: Landberk, Anekdoten, and King Crimson. I also hear a good dose of Damnation-era Opeth here. Repeated listens, however, revealed that Timeloss is more attached to the Landberk sound with more restrained guitar playing. The heavy use of mellotron blended with jazzy drumming and bass figures and slight touches of post-rock make this 39-minute disc quite enjoyable. It's very easy to listen to it; and it's this what sets it apart from bands like King Crimson and their 90's pioneers Anekdoten.
Petronella's vocals are very soft, almost fragile. She sings in a very low key and almost whispers the lyrics at some parts. Her voice fits the music excellently though. Her husband Huxflux Nettermalm is also the main songwriter, both lyrics and music, and a great drummer. His playing in the end of "Téa" (which is the name of their daughter from what I read) is very palatable. "Téa" is also a song with Swedish lyrics only but it really doesn't detract from the song, since I rarely listen to the words Petronella sings, but more to her delivery.
Former Landberk guitarist Reine Fiske plays sparse, delicate guitar notes reminiscent of 70's German bands. The guitar playing is rather controlled though, as the music on Timeloss is more mellotron-heavy. The symphonic keys on "Hypnotique" mixed with avant-jazz drums and Petronella's cello are really beautiful. Fans of Paatos should give Steven Wilson's Blackfield project a listen if they like this track (except that Blackfield is a lot more progressive). The clarinet-supported "They Are Beautiful" bathes in seas of mellotron soundscapes created by Johan Wallen who also plays the piano, hammond and synthesizers. His electric piano on the 12-minute number "Quits" is one of the most exciting moments on this disc. It strangely reminds me of Pain of Salvation's frenzied keyboard intro on "Inside".
The last song "Quits" is the most modern sounding tune. It features programmed drumming with strange beats and loops. The song delves into a jazzy experimental section with the addition of saxophone, trumpet and trombone in its second half. Nordic folk elements abound the composition secretly revealing the band's Scandinavian roots. I've been playing this for nearly three months and now it's time to pick up the follow-up, Kallocain, produced by one of the most talented musicians around, Steven Wilson.
Worthwhile short-length introduction into the light-prog, dark-rock band that sounds more organically spirited than future suggestion.