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Katella - Shades Of Gray/Freakshow ‘47

Shades Of Gray/Freakshow ‘47
by Dave Nowels at 13 February 2019, 5:29 AM

KATELLA was founded in 1990 in Wisconsin. The band is a Melodic Heavy Metal band that unfortunately found their style being crowded out in a market in which Grunge had become the new darling.  Somehow though, despite this the band maintained and persevered until 2011 before permanently disbanding. During that stretch, KATELLA  released a six song EP, “Shades Of Gray” in 1995 and an eleven song full length album, “Freakshow ‘47”in 2000. Both of these releases were extremely limited, with only 1000 copies of each being made available.

With the band having  been so short lived and the releases so limited, it’s quite a windfall to see both of these albums being released by Arkeyn Steel Records. In an era where Metal music continues to develop and shows constant innovation, Metalheads still reminisce over these bands of yesterday. Thus, labels continue to delve deep into the vaults and private collections to give these hallowed bands a second chance to be appreciated. I for one think it’s great for Metal as well as the bands, even if it’s a band like KATELLA, whose members have moved on from the scene. Who knows, maybe a release such as this will create a desire for these gentlemen to throw together a couple of reunion shows.

What we have with this collection is both the band’s EP and full length packaged in one release, with one additional demo track. The additional track is “Final Day”, from the bands 1990 demo, and it’s the final track on the collection. The remainder of the album follows a chronological order beginning with the EP “Shades Of Gray. The album has a distinctly Melodic feel, with hints of influence from the era. Those hints become apparent in songs like “Beyond The Boundries” which called to mind DREAM THEATER and KING’s X to me. Other songs, such as “Blue Curtain” and “Time Catches Up” really remind me of other Melodic bands from the same era, such as TYKETTO.

The second half represents the full length of “Freakshow ‘ 47”, and definitely shows a band struggling to find their identity in an era that saw Metal music evolving at a rapid pace. There’s a heavier approach evident on “Ties That Bind”, as well as a more layered, grittier production feel. It’s an interesting endeavor to listen to both of these releases back to back, and hear a song like “Mary Anne”, that bears little resemblance to the bands sound on the EP. Kudos to Arkeyn Steel for putting in the effort to release these recordings. They’re fun recordings that show a band’s evolution in an attempt to climb to the top. Unfortunately it didn’t work out, but there are certainly a few gems to be found here.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Blue Curtain
2. Shades Of Grey
3. Looking Back
4. Beyond The Boundaries
5. Time Catches Up
6. Sunset Rider
7. Ties That Bind
8. Shrine
9. Wasting Away
10. Chosen
11. MaryAnne
12. Believe
13. Scratching At The Surface
14. Dreamality
15. Celebration Day
16. Long Way Back
17. Man Of The World
18. Final Day
Tim Rice - Lead Vocals
Henry Schlipp – Guitar, Vocals
Jeff Randall – Guitar, Vocals
Scott Schlipp – Bass, Vocals
Brian Noonan – Drums, Vocals
Record Label: Arkeyn Steel Records


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Edited 20 May 2019

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