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Substituting Ks for Cs is quite nu-metal - 66%

Cheeses_Priced, May 21st, 2009

Come on now. This isn't really metal. It hasn't got any riffs! It's just a bunch of dawdling, repetitive chords. The guitars have a nice, heavy black or death metal tone, and there are harsh vocals, but you have to get up pretty early in the morning to pull one over on me. This doesn't sound like metal.

Now, on the one hand, it would be pretty ignorant and elitist for me to count that as a flaw, and to claim that metal is inherently superior to all other forms of music. On the other hand, I don't want to lie to my reading audience, so I'm in something of a bind.

Katatonia have changed considerably over the course of their career, and to their credit, they seem to have not ticked off their fans all that badly in the process. Lately they're more of a straight rock band – I think? I don't keep careful tabs on Katatonia. But even back here on their debut, they're pretty rock, resembling a heavier Fields of the Nephilim – I think? I don't keep careful tabs on Fields of the Nephilim either.

Regardless, this album is a sort of link between metal and depressing rock music. Depressive black metal seems to have pulled some songwriting techniques from this album, if you want to consider playing one riff for five minutes, then another one for three a “songwriting technique.”

Okay, that's not entirely fair. And it's not as if your typical black metal band is throwing in a million riffs per song in the first place. Brave Murder Day is somewhat distinctive for having songs that, by design, go precisely nowhere... they just sort of hang right there in the present, until the present presumably gets boring enough for the band to start doing something else. “12” starts off with the best couple minutes of the album, some cool intertwining guitar melodies... and then they stop that and do something else. It's annoying because I want it to go somewhere or do something or... something, but it's just the intro. It doesn't sum up to anything.

The music is too passive and indifferent for any transition to feel abrupt, which is the strength and the problem.

What the band does, they are admittedly good at; it kills all depressive black metal pretty dead, for whatever limited bragging rights that might be worth, and fairs well against the classic albums by the British Big Three (My Dying Bride, Paradise, Anathema) as well. After letting go of the feeling that they could be doing a lot more with the style, it's a pretty enjoyable album, and well-produced, the biggest annoyance, to me anyway, being Mikael Åkerfeldt's vocals, which sound exactly as they do on the first two Opeth albums, and ludicrously overbearing against the mellow guitar work.

Not really my thing, anyway. More my thing than their later music, though.