Nowadays, Katatonia are one of the most respected darkwave bands out there. But when they released their 1996 masterpiece, Brave Murder Day
, the band actually played a sort of goth-metal hybrid. Featuring a three-man lineup, this album also features one huge guest: Opeth�s own Michael Akerfeldt, who delivers most of the vocals on this album. His performance is as solid as it is interesting, and indeed proves to be one of the high points of this album. Melodic vocals are also provided by drummer Jonas Renske, although they are reduced to a minimum, only ever being prominent on the third track, Day
The Katatonia sound on this album is best described as a mixture of catchy goth-rock riffs and drum patterns, growled vocals and frequent acoustic moments. Despite the presence of Akerfeldt, the real star of this album is the guitar, magnificently played by Blackheim. This guitarist shows an innate ability to produce both catchy-as-hell rock riffing and more subtle, Arabic-influenced leads. As for Renske and Fredrik Norrman, the ryhtm guitarist (there was no permanent bassist at this point), they are the perfect accomplices for the soloist�s genius, but are never anything more than that - accompanists (although Renske is the main songwriter). Michael Akerfeldt�s voice is the icing on the cake, helping further this album�s originality and interest and setting it apart from many similar endeavours by other bands.
And then there�s the songs. In 40 minutes, the band deliver only six, which attests to the long duration of each track. Yet, somewhat surprisingly, they don� feel
long at all. Take Brave
for example � it�s over ten minutes long, yet we never lose our interest in it. In fact, I was listening to this track, and before I knew it it was up to 6:15! For me, it had felt like no more than 2:00� The same can be said of other tracks on the album, although none are quite as long as Brave
Overall, then, the songwriting is a triumph, as is the interpretation. Therefore, this album is strongly recommended not only to goth/doom fans, but to all those who enjoy hearing good music.
The album starts off with a feedback which then develops into the catchy intro riff for Brave
. This song�s praises have been extensively sung in the main review, yet it is even beeter than you could imagine. The riff is awesome, of course, but the lead and solo halfway through it are even better
. Akerfeldt�s vocals are also top-notch, growled yet intelligible, and at around seven minutes he lets out an inhuman scream which must
have been studio-enhanced! All in all, then, a track which gets 5/5 because there is really no greater mark to give to it. For in all fairness, the correct rating for this song would be (6/5)
starts with a guitar playing a riff which then develops into a variation of the riff from the previous song, with the difference that this one is even catchier
. Of course, it would have been hard for this song to match the excellency of Brave
but it ranks as a good song of its own right, where somewhat slower tempos are used to good effect. For this reason, it earns itself a pretty dignifying (4,5/5)
is perhaps the least typical of this album�s six tracks. It�s a very calm, chillout track where a more complex, mechanized percussion is used and where the guitar-picking is entirely acoustic. It�s also the only song on the album in which Akerfeldt does not intervene, with Renske for once getting the limelight. A very soothing little track that gets a deserved (5/5)
Of course, just as you have been sufficiently relaxed, in comes Akerfeldt bellowing at the top of his lungs again, over yet another variation of the riff from Brave
. It is interesting that a significant part of this album seems to be built around this riff, making this a sort of musically conceptual album. Rainroom
, however, fails to achieve the quality of the previous three songs, despite the usage of the catchy riff yet again. All the trademarks of this album are here � Arabic leads, catchy riffs, pounding drums and Akerfeldt�s signature vocals. Yet it all fails to be as utterly genius as Brave
, making this the weakest track on the album. (3,5/5)
ups the ante again, delivering yet another excellent goth/metal song. The line followed here is the same as in all the rest of the record, but we still haven�t become tired of it by now (which once again attests to the band�s songwriting capabilities). All in all, a song that comes pretty close to the initial trio in terms of quality, earning it a (4/5)
finishes off this album, and it�s a rather nondescript, but still quite pleasant, song. It doesn�t differ much from any of the others (except for Day
), but it strolls along effortlessly in our speakers, ending what is in fact a very, very good album. (4/5)
Recent versions of this album have featured the tracks from the EP For Funerals To Come
as bonus tracks.