Brave Murder Day



by ReturnToRock USER (303 Reviews)
September 19th, 2005 | 127 replies

Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

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.

Songs :

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) .

Murder 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).

Day 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 or Murder, making this the weakest track on the album. (3,5/5).

Fortunately, 12 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)

Endtime 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.

Rating: 4,75/5

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user ratings (863)
other reviews of this album
Xenorazr CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
Luscious and intoxicating, Brave Murder Day fully realizes Katatonia’s doom and gloom potential....

BallsToTheWall (5)
A roaring hybrid of Gothic/Doom Metal done to perfection....

AngryByrd (4.5)
A beautifully dark symphony of power chords, depressing lyrics, and Mikael Åkerfeldt....

Comments:Add a Comment 
September 19th 2005


Good review. I've never heard this album in full, but I tend to like the newer side of Katatonia better than the older. It seems I should definately check this out, though.

November 10th 2005


I find the drums to sound horrible. But the album makes up.

November 10th 2005


The only song I have heard from Katatonia is Bastard Of Lying Breed. I don't think I can get into the whole viking metal thing, but it was a good song.

November 11th 2005


Viking Metal? :confused:

November 11th 2005


Yeah viking metal, or viking rock. That's what I've heard they are by many people. Am I misinformed? I've read some of their lyrics, and they're pretty viking sounding. Anyway, I gotta give 'em props cuz' I'm a anglo-saxon up in hurr. :cool:

November 12th 2005


Sorry everyone. I'm an idiot, God. I was thinking of Amon Amarth, not Katatonia. *punches myself*

November 13th 2005


Album Rating: 3.5


you mentioned as Katatonia being Darkwave nowadays? :confused:

and their early stuff Gothic? :confused:

thier old stuff is Doom/ Death metal, there new stuff is progressive/depressing rock.

anyways the cd, it's awesome, so packed with emotion, very atmospheric.

check out Forest Of Shadows for something similair to early Kata. Forest Of Shadows also covered rainroom ( on Brave Murder Day)

I recommend this cd to people who want to hear a different approach to extreme metal, and who are not affraid of nice accoustic passages and clean vocals

December 9th 2005


Album Rating: 4.5

Ya know, it seems that most extreme euro-metal has soft/clean passages, breakdowns and vocals anyway. lol.

I've heard most of this, and love what I've heard. Very cool stuff...very good vibe...very different band in general I think.

Why does Rainroom get beat up on by some people That song rocks.

This Message Edited On 12.09.05

P.S.-Very early stuff was black doom metal.This Message Edited On 12.09.05

March 9th 2007


Just got hold of this - great album

Ominous Inane
August 2nd 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

This album is one that i have never gotten sick of. I've been listening to this for a long time now and i still enjoy it every bit as much as when i first got it. A great release by a great band.

October 23rd 2007


I like this album, it's good to listen to on rainy days, and I really prefer Akerfeldt's vocals.

December 7th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

wonderful. very close to giving this a 4.5.

after a few more listens, i just might.

December 17th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

This is one of the Katatonia albums I need to hear...

January 23rd 2008


there new stuff is progressive/depressing rock.
there is nothing, but really nothing progressive of katatonia's newest albums... it's just depressive doom rock or something like that.

May 26th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think of this album as anything special. It's not bad by any means, but it's nothing great either.

May 26th 2008


Maybe it's just me, but I don't think of this album as anything special. It's not bad by any means, but it's nothing great either.

I agree with you, my 3.5 is a little generous. It's a good album, but definitely has more hype than substance.

May 26th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

I guess it depends on the listener. This is my favorite Katatonia album as well as one of my favorite metal records. "Brave" in particular is stunning and the album's atmosphere is great.

May 26th 2008


yeah, I can see why it would be considered great, but it just doesn't hit that tone with me.

September 24th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

so boring

November 23rd 2008


Listening to this now, really good.

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