KATATONIA — Brave Murder Day (review)

KATATONIA — Brave Murder Day album cover Album · 1996 · Death-Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
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.
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