Dance of December Souls(No Fashion - 1993)
Heart-ripping, pain-filled music - I knew they wouldn't disappoint me. This is an earlier album with their first superb vocalist. This man spews and roars pain out of his lungs like the world had come to an end. He definitely leads the music - devastating! This band is master of melancholy extreme music. Not as polished and well produced as Brave Murder Day but this only makes it more raw and gripping. The songs are less hypnotic/repetitive as well but possibly more melancholy and definitely heavier. Dynamics are great as well, with shifting speeds and riffs, sad melodies, accoustic guitars or just plain heavy Sabbath-style doom. Incredible!
Saw You Drown(Avantegarde - 1997)
A very limited edition EP. 4 tracks of subdued doom metal with clean vocals. That's right, this devastating band has now mellowed out even more but they still sound great. A lot of this album reminds me of the Cure (vocals) and Anathema's Eternity album. But the actual song-structure and riffing sound like a softer version of Brave Murder Day. The song moves along dreamily and sadly without any of the ripping emotion from their previous albums. First two tracks are taken from their new full length Discouraged Ones so I assume this will be the overall sound of the LP. I see many disappointed fans and I personally prefer the power of the older stuff, but this works as well and is good so I can't complain of this 'progression'. The fourth track is a ten minute long, more 'rock'ish song with layered vocals that remind me slightly of Swano if he were drugged. Dreamy, sad and beautiful.
Discouraged Ones(Avantegarde - 1997)
The most important changes here since their previous LP are the clean vocals. A third of the time they are reminiscent of Cavanagh off of Anathema's Eternity, clean and far-away sorrowful. The rest of the time they are even more dreamy and strike me as a male version of Sade's singing style. The music however is not that different and still has the riffs overflowing with sorrow, the repetitive hypnotic sadness, the crying feedback, and the soft touch. It is however, softer, and has more experimentation and thanks to the vocals has a totally different effect. At times I even think the music is too rough for the effect the vocals are trying to make but it's not annoying at all. Is the album good? Very much so. I prefer the more emotionally expressive vocals from their previous albums over the predominant dreamy ones here but these are still great and often quite sorrowful. Even though I liked their previous albums more, I salute Katatonia for always changing their style and still putting out one good album after another. Recommended for a softer audience.