Katatonia is a Swedish doom metal band that formed in Stockholm, Sweden in 1991. Katatonia is best known as one of the pioneering bands for the emotionally depressed and brutal yet slow doom metal genre. Katatonia is also one of those bands that have made a great progression from earlier work to later work, starting off as a brutal death doom band (in which two of there albums featured Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt on harsh vocals) to a more mellow, lighter form of the doom metal genre (which some people like to call ‘depressed rock’). Tonight’s Decision
is the second full length album by the band in which they have adopted their more lighthearted sound (the album is their fourth full length in all). The album has a very melancholy feel to it, yet it still delivers some nice, heavy, doomy riffs and sad vocals that make Katatonia one of the leaders of the underground genre.
The album opens up with the soft, progressive tunes of For My Demons
, which quickly kick into heavier riffs which show the band’s skills at the guitar have not diminished since they’ve adopted their lighter sound. The song is very mellow vocally, with Jonas Renkse singing a very falsetto tune. The song has some very catchy tunes and the chorus is a good attention grabber as the heavy riffs kick back in when Jonas Renkse uses some amazing vocal talent. The song is a good opener and a perfect example of what most of the album is, and ends up being one o the better songs in the long run. I Am Nothing
is the next track, starting with some dark bass grooves and a mellow drum beat. The singing fits very well in the thick atmosphere of the track, and as the heavy riffs kick in for a few seconds, you know the song is going to give you more then just a slow paced, steady track. The chorus is delivers some amazing, fast yet steady riffs and bass grooves leading some amazing singing by Jonas Renkse. Overall the song is another great, ‘hard rock meets doom metal’ heavy hitter.
In Death, A Song
kicks off with some heavy, catchy riffs that leads straight into more of Jonas Renkse's operatic singing style. The song has a good flow and has a good, dense atmosphere to it. The song lacks major dynamics like the first two tracks, but still delivers a pretty catchy chorus tune even it’s straightforward guitar riffs that stay throughout. Had To (Leave)
is another track with slow and heavy doom riffs that bring on some of the more bluntly depressed lyrics that did not show so much in the other songs. The song’s bridges are lot more dynamic then the chorus of the song, delivering some rather spazzy guitar work and up beat yet depressed vocals. Musically the sing stands out the most on the album with its’ apocalyptic sounding riffs and keyboard back drop that show why this band defines doom metal, but vocally the track could be a lot more dynamic.
Another mellow track like the first song is This Punishment
, which starts off with some soft guitar strums and mellow singing. The song is short and very straightforward but has a nice, soft guitar solo put into it, giving it a very calm atmosphere that is nice and soothing to the ears. After some very mystic sounding guitar riffs kick in to Right Into The Bliss
, the song jumps into a nice, heavy groove that suddenly stops into a slow guitar strum which leads back into more heavy riffs backed up by Jonas Renkse’s singing. The song has some amazing guitar work on it, and the chorus is very catchy and flows well with the music. The song’s atmosphere is very dense as are some of the other tracks, but manages to deliver some of the best guitar and bass grooves on the album. No Good Can Come Of This
starts with some soft guitars that lead into some crunchy, heavy riffs that spazz a bit before exiting, leading into a very soft, mellow tune before kicking back on again. The chorus to the song has a good swinging groove to it that makes a good flow even with the spazzy guitar riffs in the bridges. The song is one of the more unique on the album, but still manages to hit hard.
kicks off with some heavy drum lines and guitar riffs and backing vocals that remind me a lot of Amorphis (another death/ doom band that has not lost it’s heaviness). The song has a good atmosphere to it and the singing is some of the best on the album and fit well with the catchy guitar riffs. The keyboard used in the track is rather hard to notice, but helps give the song some what of an Egyptian vibe to it (especially when the solo kicks in). Another mellow, dark track is A Darkness Coming
, which starts off with soft guitar strums that stay throughout the track. The singing gives the song a nice, depressed vibe to it as well. The song picks up halfway with more heavier riffs and a wicked guitar solo near the end of it. Overall the song could of done better if it kept it’s more mellow, acoustic sound all the way through while still keeping the solo.
Nightmare By The Sea
is another upbeat song that starts off with slow riffs that kick into very jumpy, heavier riffs. The song focuses a lot more on the bass and drum grooves in the bridges, which give it a unique feel. The chorus doesn’t real do much for me since it lacks a lot of the catchiness the other songs have, but the guitar grooves make up for most of the song. The epic tunes of Black Session
start off with some light guitar strums that lead into some very heavy, distorted riffs that really bring back that doom feel to the album. The song is very heavy but still has that mellow feel to it as Jonas Renkse sings his heart out all over the track. The progressive feel to the song gives it a good atmosphere and flow that makes it stand out as a good, heavy hitter that is perfect to end the album. Overall, Tonight’s Decision
is a good, solid album and is perfect for any doom metal fan or any one who is pitifully depressed and wants to put on some music to fit his/ her mood.
-- Good vocals and musicianship (especially for a mellow doom band).
-- Great, dense atmospheres and album flow.
-- Good album production (especially for a doom metal band).
-- The lyrics are pitifully depressing.
-- All the songs for the most part sound a lot a like and require a couple of listens before one can really get used to it.
1. For My Demons (5/5)
2. I Am Nothing (4.5/5)
3. In Death, A Song (4/5)
4. Had To (Leave) (4/5)
5. This Punishment (3.5/5)
6. Right Into The Bliss (5/5)
7. No Good Can Come Of This (3.5/5)
8. Strained (4.5/5)
9. A Darkness Coming (3.5/5)
10. Nightmare By The Sea (3.5/5)
11. Black Session (4/5)
*The 2003 rerelease of the album also contains two bonus tracks, No Devotion