Live Consternation is the first live release from Katatonia, and chronicles the band’s performance at the 2006 Summerbreeze Open Air festival in Germany. I’m not really sure how to look at this release. Is it a live CD with a bonus DVD, or should this be seen as Katatonia’s first DVD release that comes with a bonus audio CD? I suppose it shouldn’t matter since the contents are the same, but it does make a difference.
If the primary focus is supposed to be the audio CD, and the DVD is just the icing on the cake, then Live Consternation is a very effective release. Katatonia gave a great performance, though at less than an hour it was relatively brief. The setlist was loaded with songs from Great Cold Distance, but they covered some old ground as well. You don’t hear a lot from the crowd, and Jonas Renske’s banter is kept to a minimum, which kind of brings the energy level down a bit. Given the nature of Katatonia’s music, that’s probably not a good thing. Still, the sound quality was superb, and the band’s execution of these songs was flawless.
If you look at Live Consternation as a DVD release first and foremost (and to be honest, that’s why I bought it), it’s a bit disappointing. Again, the band’s performance was great, and the video quality is just as good as the audio, but the 50-minute live set is all you get. There are no video clips, no documentary or interview footage, no bonus features of any kind. Compared to recent DVD releases by Children of Bodom and Opeth, that’s just not cutting it. I will say this for the DVD, watching the band play live you get a much better appreciation for just how intense they are and how seriously they take their music.
I also hate the goofy “super jewel box” Live Consternation comes in. I know that’s an extremely minor thing, but a full DVD case would have been much better, especially in showcasing Travis Smith’s amazing cover artwork.
If you’re a big Katatonia fan, then this one is a no-brainer, especially if you’re the type who regularly buys live albums. If you’re looking for a first rate DVD release though, you’re probably going to be disappointed.