KATATONIA — Brave Murder Day

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KATATONIA - Brave Murder Day cover
4.21 | 40 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1996


1. Brave (10:16)
2. Murder (4:54)
3. Day (4:28)
4. Rainroom (6:31)
5. 12 (8:18)
6. Endtime (6:45)

Total Time: 41:14


- Jonas Renkse / Drums & Clean Vocals
- Blackheim / Guitar & Bass
- Fredrik Norrman / Guitar


- Mikael Åkerfeldt / Harsh Vocals

About this release

Avantgarde Music, November 1996

Produced by Katatonia.
Recorded & mixed at Unisound,July 1996.
Engineered by Dan Swano.
Remastered by David Castillo at Castillo sound,September 2006.
Front & back cover photos supplied by Bildhuset.
Photos by Lennart Kaltea.
Art direction & digital design by Katatonia & Tom.
Redesign by reesycle.com.
All music & lyrics by Katatonia.
The sample in "Endtime" is:
"Because, for some people solitude and isolation can, of itself, become a
problem. Not for me", from the film "The Shining".

"12" is a re-recorded version of the Song "Black Erotica" from the "W.A.R.
Compilation Volume 1"

Note: This album originally went to the pressing plant completely unmastered,
hence the low output of audio and lack of various EQ/FX enhancements. It was
finally mastered for the first time in 2006 when Peaceville Records re-released
the album as a digipak with the "Sounds of Decay" EP as bonus tracks.

Century Media's American version also contains the "For Funerals to Come" EP.

Irond Records (Russia) released the album with both the "Sounds of Decay" and
"For Funerals to Come" EPs.

LP version was released on 27/09/2004 by Northern Silence Productions. Each LP
comes in gatefold-sleeve with revised artwork and handnumbered.
LP in black vinyl, ltd. 444 (first 144 copies incl. poster)
PicLP, ltd. 444 (first 144 copies incl. poster)
LP in purple vinyl, ltd. 333 (incl. poster)

Re-released on vinyl together with "For Funerals to Come" by Century in 2009:
150 purple and 350 gray.

Thanks to Prog Geo, UMUR, TheHeavyMetalCat, 666sharon666, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

There’s so much I could say about this incredible album, and I could never do enough to sing its praises, so instead I’ll relay a personal story.

Many, many years ago now, I lost a very dear friend. Not that they died, no; they chose to go down a dark path I could not follow. And that was almost worse, because there was no closure, no finality to it, and it all ended in a very sad, painful way.

My life after that event was quite dark for quite some time. Hopelessness and lack of trust clouded my view of everything, and once solid goals started to appear meaningless. I continued moving forward simply because.

Enter Brave Murder Day. I had previously heard Katatonia’s debut and their 2 prior EP’s, and while I thought they were good, they were far from incredible releases. I thus put on Brave Murder Day as I was going to sleep one night with no expectations.

Brave immediately captured my attention – no, it would be more appropriate to say that it stole my breath and held it for all 10 of its forlorn minutes. Not only was this nothing like Katatonia’s previous work, it wasn’t like anything I’d heard before (nor have I since). This was the purest form of auditorial depression I’d ever heard. It actually frightened me, as vulnerable as I was at the time. Safe to say my chances of sleep had been murdered.

I kept listening to the album day after day, and it felt awful, in a way. It took me to the darkest depths of the low I was already in and forced me to sit in pitch black. There was no running and no numbing that could escape that dreadful feeling once these twisted chords created that inescapable rainroom.

And yet… comfort. Genuine comfort. Someone else understands this. Someone else captured this feeling. Someone else took this horrible darkness and created art. Someone else felt this and kept going.

And that is why I love Metal, but more importantly why I adore Doom Metal. The genuine darkness and melancholia behind it is so comforting when you just need to know you aren’t alone, and you can survive, and you can make beauty even with your darkness.

Anyway, time passed and I shelved this album for over half of 12 years, simply because it remained incredibly effective at bringing me right back to that place. I’d listen to a track every once in a while when the mood fit, but it had been so long since I have listened to the album in full. Until now, that is, listening as I write this… I can handle it now, but lord, does it remain very effective. One of the greatest albums of all time, or should I say… of Endtime.
Another decent death-doom release from Katatonia, Brave Murder Day is notably mostly for the extended suite formed by the title triptych of Brave, Murder, and Day; beyond that, it's more competent and entertaining death-doom material, and whilst I'm not so hot on the direction they took after this, it was probably the right call to shift direction at this point. The material here is not quite as fresh as the debut, and there's a sense towards the end of the album that Katatonia have done more or less all they can do in this particular vein and needed to look to new musical horizons if they were to find new inspiration.
"Brave Murder Day" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Swedish doom/death metal act Katatonia. The album was released through Avantgarde Music in July 1996. There have been a couple of lineup changes since the release of "Dance of December Souls (1993)", as drummer/lead vocalist Jonas Renkse has switched to clean vocals (only used sparingly on the album), and left the growling vocals to guest vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth). Bassist Israphel Wing is out of the band and the bass is therefore handled by Blackheim in addition to his guitar playing duties. Fredrik Norrman has been added to the lineup has a second guitarist. Edge of Sanity frontman Dan Swanö (here working under his pseudonym Day DiSyraah) plays all keyboards on the album. "Brave Murder Day" was also recorded at Swanö´s Unisound Studio with Swanö handling engineering.

"Brave Murder Day" was originally send to be pressed without having been mastered and it was not until the 2006 Peaceville Records re-release of the album that it was properly mastered. The Peaceville Records version includes the "Sounds of Decay (1997)" EP as a bonus. Other re-releases feature the "For Funerals to Come (1995)" EP and the Russian label Irond Records released a version were both EPs are included. As a consequence of the lack of mastering the original version of the album features some sound issues (low audio output and lack of EQ fixes), but it´s nothing too distracting and the sound production is generally well sounding and suits the music well.

Stylistically the music is doom/death metal, but ultimately quite different sounding to the doom/death metal style on "Dance of December Souls (1993)". Gone are the blackened elements (although Åkerfeldt´s vocals at times touch that territory) and the occult atmosphere of the debut album, and instead a deeply melancholic atmosphere and a dark heavy rhythmic foundation have taken their place. Some tracks have a repetitive almost ritualistic element to them but changes always happen to great effect, so repetitive sections never become tiresome. "Day" is a track which is quite different from the remaining material on the album, as it´s a quiet song with Renkse singing clean lead vocals. It´s melancholic and a bit monotone, and it´s obvious it´s an early experiement with clean vocals (which reminds me a bit of The Cure). Renkse sounds neither confident nor comfortable singing clean vocals at this point. The shoegaze influenced section on "Rainroom", which features clean vocals too, works a bit better. The growling vocals are delivered with raw power and great conviction though and Åkerfeldt deserves praise for his performance on the album.

Other than "Day", which stands out as very different from the rest of the material, the 5 remaining tracks are all doom/death metal featuring simple heavy beats (almost too simple if you ask me), heavy downtuned riffs, melancholic lead themes, and an overall epic atmosphere. The tracks feature rather unconventional structures, and while riffs and memorable hooks do return during the tracks, the tracks aren´t vers/chorus structured, and therefore a bit more adventurous than usual. "Brave" for example features three long consecutive sections, before section number one returns to close the track. Tracks like "12" and "Endtime" also feature what I would characterize as progressive structures. Both tracks are also quite dynamic with both epic heavy sections and more melancholic quiet clean/acoustic guitar sections.

While Katatonia have a pretty unique sound, I hear quite a few nods toward early Opeth and especially early Paradise Lost, which must have been a great influence on Katatonia´s music. Listen to the guitar lead theme about 1:30 minutes into "Murder", and tell me that doesn´t sound one to one like a lead theme from "Gothic (1991)" (the sophomore studio album by Paradise Lost). Katatonia even get the guitar tone right. When that is said it is seldom during the album´s playing time that the Paradise Lost influence is that blatantly displayed, and as mentioned Katatonia generally have an easily recognisable and original sound.

Upon conclusion "Brave Murder Day" is a quality sophomore studio album by Katatonia. 1996 was probably not the best year to release an album in this style, but it is often mentioned as a seminal album in the doom/death metal genre, and rightly so. Katatonia took their music to a higher level on "Brave Murder Day" and despite a few sound production issues, and a few moments where their influences shine through a bit too much, this is a quality release featuring a unique sound and style. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
This was KATATONIA's second studio album released in 1996. Many of their fans still count this one as their favourite. All you have to do is look on the RYM site to see that it's their highest rated studio album on there. Mikael Akerfeldt a good friend of Jonas (vocals, drums) adds his harsh vocals to this disc. For me this is a depressing album and not in a good way. I love dark and melancholic music because I find it beautiful, but this record really does bring me down. I'm not sure if it's simply because of the growly vocals because the song "Day" which doesn't have those style of vocals is by far my favourite song on here. The opening 10 plus minute "Brave" is almost trance-like with growly vocals throughout. Obviously i'm in the minority with my feelings towards this album so take it with a grain of salt for sure. A good album regardless.

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