The Unknown Guest: Jonas Renkse

Let’s take a look at some of the best collaborations by Swedish gloom-master, Jonas Renkse.

Jonas Petter Renkse’s voice is the embodiment of the everlasting melancholic attitude of the Scandinavian people. It is fragile, soothing, with a deep dark lyrical baritone tone that engulfs the listener with the frozen majesty of the northern lights. In his native Sweden, Jonas paired with his best friend Anders “Blakkheim” Nyström to create Katatonia, a monument of bleak music with 10 full-length albums that are faithful testament of the autumnal spirit.

He was also nicknamed as Lord Seth in the first two Katatonia records, in which he growled and sang his ass off until his voice was on the verge of oblivion; but that suddenly changed in 1998, when the young duo stripped down their rock influences and poured that black tar into their band’s vision, becoming what the later records became: a sensitive mix of sentiments and a expressionist splash of metal-meets-melodies approach. Katatonia’s songs made Jonas find his niche; the vulnerability of the toned-down, ambient and brooding compositions they have made since 1991 helped him to explore very diverse tricks and treats in his vocal delivery.

To summarize his work, Renkse employs his characteristic middle to low tone for a dense narrative lyrical style and sometimes he can use a monochrome attack that ends embellished by his almost whispered vibrato. With his limited vocal range, he is very capable to lead the melodies paired with the complex and layered wall of sound that the band provides behind. He is one of those rare cases in which the sincerity of his voice sets immediately the mood to the listener for nostalgias, memories and melancholies to come.

In his career, after stumbling with his main band and his own capabilities, he founded October Tide in 1994, a melodic death/doom metal project, with the guitarist Fredrik “North” Norrman. He left in 1999 to commit exclusively to Katatonia. Also, at a boozey party with their friends, Renkse and Nyström initiated the death metal homicidal combo Bloodbath that many of you had enjoyed with those rotten compositions.

Due to his expressive and mellow tone, Jonas was called by some projects to make a couple of guest appearances:


Swallow the Sun wrote a song for Hope that cried for the Jonas Renkse voice. The piece, titled “The Justice of Suffering”, punishes with a dirge slow doom tempo and deep growl vocals that are cut in half by a implosive chorus with a soft and layered lyrical lines sung by Renkse, along a bridge that move a little the composition. The tiny reverb effect enhances the contrasting nature of the song.

 


Progressive composer Arjen Lucassen is known for two things: his conceptual albums and his ability to squish the best of the musicianship of his guests. In 2007, the Ayreon’s double album 01011001 (which means Y in binary language) saw the light of day with a plethora of great metal stars. In this story, Jonas Renkse is one of the Forever aliens that fight against the tide of time to save the human race of the same mistakes they made eons ago. The apparitions of Jonas in four songs of the record are shrouded with mysterious keyboards lines that reflect the realistic, and almost pessimistic, thinking of his character. Arjen gave him permission to write his own vocal lines.

 


In 2009, the German post-rock quintet, Long Distance Calling, invited Jonas to participate in their upcoming record on a different type of collaboration of their habitual work. The band use of long instrumental pieces got helped by his soothing guest spot, which complimented in a good manner the tingling orbital guitar riffs and the calm bass lines of the song “The Nearing Grave”. It is such a good song that is launched into an abyss of emotions in the final minutes with mastery.

 


Since the early days of the corpse paint goofiness of Katatonia, I think Jonas did not approached that close to the black metal genre until this guest appearance in 2009, aided by Pantheon I. “Ascending” is a contrasting song that uses a higher register of Renkse’s voice buried into the harsh rocks of the blast beats and the icy tremolos to induce a false sensation of calmness. The melodies are carried away with an almost poem recite vocal style.

 


The mysterious sludge and drone inspired metal, Switchblade, made use of Jonas musicianship for their 2012 record, a 36-minutes display of sonic hypnosis. This collaboration marked the return of Jonas to make harsh vocals since the early Katatonia days.

 


Multi-instrumentalist Bruce Soord, from the rock band The Pineapple Thief, envision an album with Jonas’ voice in mind to sing the songs, and they found the right gaps in their schedules to quickly record them. The result is an introspective rock album full of the acoustic vs. electronic dichotomy. It is a gorgeous effort that explores a different side of his work.

 



Do you want to share the guest collaborations of your favorite musician? Send Link your text following this format: quick bio and a commentary of the songs in which he/she guested. He is waiting for your submission to his e-mail address: linkleonhart@hotmail.com

  • Lacertilian

    Looking forward to more of this feature Link, good shit!

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    Haven’t checked out Katatonia in a while. Still love this masterpiece.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLOrDWEfvM8

  • Sir Tapir The Based
    • Dubs

      You’re a mammal of wealth and taste.

      • BLACKBEARD UNFILTERED

        And poop

        • Sir Tapir The Based

          I’ll have none of your lip

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I don’t want to remember how Ratt was destroyed by Bobby Blotzer.

          • Sir Tapir The Based

            No

          • Yes?

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom
          • now there’s a man after my heart. have you seen them live?

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            Sadly, no.

          • they bring it. and ticket prices are always cheap because most people just know them as “the band who did Gay Bar”

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            I watched their live DVD, and they seem to be hometown heroes back in Detroit.

          • Sir Tapir The Based

            Mmmmmm terrible band

          • maybe their music is too complicated for you

          • Sir Tapir The Based

            Hähähähähähähähä good joke

          • i know, i kid. they are my favorite band tho and something would be very wrong in the universe if you enjoyed them!

          • Sir Tapir The Based

            Kinda like it would be weird if you liked Finnish bands that no one cares aboout but me.

      • Sir Tapir The Based

        I know.

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        He’s been around for a long, long year. He’s stole many a man’s soul and faith.

        • I never heard of Bobby Boltzer doing that.

        • Sir Tapir The Based

          HEY HEY HEY! I won those souls fair!

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Does no one get my reference to the song Sympathy For The Devil? Dubs said you’re a mammal of wealth and taste. This comment I made is the next line of the song.

          • Sir Tapir The Based

            I don’t listen to shit bands like Rolling Stones.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Never mind.

          • BLACKBEARD UNFILTERED

            Lololol

          • YOU HATE THE ROLLING STONES BUT YOU KNOW THE LYRICS HAHAHAA

          • Sir Tapir The Based

            I don’t know the lyrics tho

          • YOU RENDERED MY JOKE INVALID. DAMNIT.

          • Sir Tapir The Based

            I will render you invalid.

          • IMMA PAINT YOU BLACK. GET IT?

          • BLACKBEARD UNFILTERED

            Heroin?

          • BLACKBEARD UNFILTERED

            Songs about heroin

          • *faceplam*

            FUCK.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            I always preferred The Yardbirds.

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            Hey hey you you get off of his cloud!

  • The only album I really like and own by them is Brave Murder Day.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NQhHqxmAvg

    • nbm02ss

      I love this album. Brave was the first song I ever taught myself on guitar.

      • The guitars literally cry out the notes on this album.

        • nbm02ss

          Plus Mikael’s vocals are writhing in agony.

          • Yeah, I much prefer Mikael’s vocals than Jonas Renkse’s.

  • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

    Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, I didn’t know he sang with Ayreon! There’s so many collaborators it’s almost impossible to keep up.

    • Yes. It’s impossible…

      http://i.giphy.com/iL7P9QXbWoH4s.gif

      • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

        Ok, that flew over my head.

        • Suicide.

          • nbm02ss
          • Nice, this album I have not really dove into quite yet or much after Dictius Te Necare to be honest. Dictius Te Necare is a fantastic album though.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqUrP2J58Rw

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, I see it now. I thought it was a part from ‘Lucy’ for a second.

          • The scene is from Royal Tenenbaums if you really want to know.

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            I only made it about 30 minutes into that movie long long ago.

          • Not a Wes Anderson fan? Nevermind… You have some terrible taste anyways.

          • Bosse de Hosse Rosse

            Favorite Anderson film?

          • Damn, that’s a difficult one. I want to say Bottle Rocket but I have a soft spot for Moonrise Kingdom.

          • Bosse de Hosse Rosse

            It is difficult.
            Moonrise Kingdom was really good. What kind of bird, are you?

            I really enjoyed Grand Budapest Hotel. Darjeeling Limited as well.

          • Grand Budapest Hotel was good. I need to rewatch that one though. I sort of watched it drunk so it’s a bit hazy. I just remember William Dafoe throwing Jeff Goldblum’s cat out the window.

          • Bosse de Hosse Rosse

            Haha! It’s worth a rewatch. I like how many actors are jam packed into the movie, and all of the crazy eccentric characters Anderson is able to create for them.
            Anderson’s dialogue is amazing.

          • Bosse de Hosse Rosse

            Ha!

          • Chef Goldblum is reason enough to watch anything

          • RJA

            Rushmore, for sure.

          • Bosse de Hosse Rosse

            That’s a good one.

          • Bosse de Hosse Rosse

            That play is one of my favorite Anderson moments.

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            I liked Life Aquatic. That’s pretty much it.

          • Hahaha! That’s my least favorite one. To each his own.

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            Exactly. His style’s a bit too bland for me, TBH.

          • Bosse de Hosse Rosse

            Royal Tenenbaums style.

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      Did you see that the Fingerpoke Of Doom is trending on Facebook?

      • That sounds hot bro.

      • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

        Did you hear that the one dude from Steely Dan got arrested for beating his wife? At first, I thought it was Stephen Hawking when I saw the pic!

        http://www.tmz.com/2016/01/05/steely-dan-donald-fagen-arrested-wife/#ixzz3wOwGjjB6

        • Janitor Jim Duggan

          Donald Fagen plz!

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            Stephen Hawking, how could you?!?!?

        • more beer

          Stephen Hawking beating his wife. Would be something I would have to see. While I do not condone domestic violence. It would be pretty funny watch. Maybe he could do some of that d list celebrity boxing or something like that.

          • Bosse de Hosse Rosse

            Haha, holy shit!

          • more beer

            Think about it. He could be talking shit at the weigh in, with his computerized voice. Plus he is a pretty little guy. There would be no punching above the belt. Comedy gold.

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

          • Bosse de Hosse Rosse

            Comedy gold indeed!

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            I’d imagine he’d fight like the professor from Tekken.

          • more beer

            I kind of see him jumping out of his wheelchair like a Tasmanian Devil. Then just punching his opponent in the nuts.

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            I wanna see him take on Bernie from Weekend At Bernies, without his wheelchair. I think it might be an even match.

          • more beer

            I don’t know Bernie has a pretty hard head. Look at what he did to those buoys when he went water skiing.

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            Good point. If one of his buddies distracts the ref, they might be able to flop him on top of Stephen and get the pin.

          • more beer

            Someone needs to set this fight up. Where is Don King when you need him?

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            Still busy counting Tyson’s money.

          • more beer

            Along with every other fighter he robbed.

      • he’s too busy eating chicago-style hot dogs and pizza

        • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

          Damn skippy! Chicago pizza and hot dogs >>>>>>>>>>>> everything NYC food.

          • more beer

            Bullshit!

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom
          • more beer

            New York Sicilian pizza. Better than any Chicago deep dish.

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            Doubtful. There’s several NYC style pizza places around here, but I’m yet to try any. I rarely (as in maybe once a year) go out to eat.

          • and why would there be any NYC style pizza places in Chicago?

          • more beer

            Why do they have Chicago style pizza places in New York?

          • i’m just trying to hammer in the fact that KJU lives in Chicago (despite him joking around with me that he moved to Virginia or something)

          • more beer

            He is in Virginia. He knows too much about the place to not live there. I was stationed there when I was in the service. So I can tell he is being truthful about it.

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            I actually do live in VA (Newport News). Overall, I’m glad to be the fuck out of Chicago, tbh.

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            And vice versa. Better question is why would they have Subway in NYC (even before the kiddy boinking fiasco)? Shit, generic, rubbery, dry, yoga mat subs in the middle of the deli capital of America.

          • more beer

            I think Subway started there though.

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            Close. Bridgefort, CT.

          • more beer

            I believe the name of the city is.Bridgeport.

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            Close enough. Who cares? Fuck CT!

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            Lol, your name came to mind when I saw the headline on this one! Yes, it’s Fox News, but this is hilarious as hell nonetheless!

            http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/01/05/pizza-hut-employees-allegedly-ring-in-new-year-with-bong-in-kitchen.html?ICID=ref_fark

          • more beer

            Those dudes got fired. Which is just stupid. Who knows more about pizza than a stoner?

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            And judging by the wonky, WTF items Pizza Huts been putting on it’s menu the last couple of years, there’s no fucking that the entire staff at their test kitchen isn’t high on something!

          • more beer

            Pretty much everyone in the food service business is high. I don’t even remember the last time I ate at a Pizza Hut. It’s gotta be like at lest 25 years. But I stay away from chain store pizza anyway. So what ever they have o their menu makes no difference to me.

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            On a whole other side note………. is it me or is Dennis Quaid starting to look like a drunk, roid rage George W. Bush?!?

            http://ll-media.tmz.com/2016/01/05/0105-dennis-quaid-ripped-hawaii-akmgsi-4.jpg

          • more beer

            No that pretty much sums it up.

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            Because there’s shitloads of New Yorkers here, perhaps? I’m not exactly in the boonies, you know!

          • more beer

            You aren’t in some great metropolis either. They are at least 20 years behind there.

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            Well, true!

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            Doh, misread your sentence as VA instead of Chicago.

          • more beer

            You are in Virginia. There is no good pizza there.

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            Little Caesar’s, my all time favorite pizza, is right up the street. So you are WRONG!!!!!

          • more beer

            I said good pizza!

          • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

            As did I. I’m simple but sophisticated in my tastes.

      • nbm02ss

        Of course I had to go and look that up. Mistakes.

  • Eliza

    Quite an outstanding guy. Katatonia is great.

  • Dubs

    I still occasionally like to revisit Ayreon’s The Human Equation. You may take my non-dork card, Joe.

    • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

      My favorite one. It’s been pretty hit and miss since that one. I was sorely disappointed by their live DVD I had a while back.

  • nbm02ss
  • Dubs

    Link, your passion for melody and melancholy soothes my soul.

    • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

      Definitely looking forward to this, as always!

      *whale noises intensifies*

    • Sir Tapir The Based

      POOOOOOP!!

    • Maik Beninton™

      GIMME A SONG DAMMIT.

  • xengineofdeathx

    Dude that spot on the Justice of Suffering might be my single favorite Renske vocal melody.

    • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

      Welcome to the Toilet! Where men are men, but still have mostly girl parts.

      • Lacertilian

        He’s been here for ages, just doesn’t feel the need to comment every single thought he has.

        • Heroic Nipple Farts Of Doom

          Hence why I wouldn’t notice him here.

    • It’s incredible how the music completely changes with Jonas melody.

  • PostBlackenedWhaleGaze

    So I checked out Long Distance Calling after listening to that song and can’t stop listening to them. They fucking rule. Thanks Toilet/Link.