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Overrated, but still Great - 86%

Gothic_Metalhead, July 11th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2006, CD, Peaceville Records (Reissue, Remastered, Digipak)

When it comes to Katatonia, I always feel that they made a bigger impact playing death-doom then gothic metal or much later prog rock. "Dance of December Souls" is an album I often consider to be Katatonia's best work. With sophisticated poetry, dark guitar tone, and a perfect mix of doom, death, and black metal tempos and vocals make this an influential album among death-doom and black-doom artists. It would be one of my all time favorite metal albums in death-doom, doom metal, and death metal. However, this album is far from bring the most influential Katatonia album according to most fans. The album that truly remains a classic among death-doom and doom metal is "Brave Murder Day."

"Brave Murder Day" to me took a long time to get into mainly because I thought of it as an overrated album in death-doom. It would set the groundwork for Katatonia's musical approach in future albums that I would not think are good. However, the album's influence would be heard in many future death-doom bands like Rapture, October Tide, Daylight Dies and more. So it's understandable why most metal media lists would say this album is one of the most influential albums in doom metal. Nevertheless, "Brave Murder Day" is still an album that I would highly recommend to people looking for some classic death-doom. Though it's still not as musically superior and lyrically brilliant than the band's debut album, "Brave Murder Day" offers a great experience.

The music of "Brave Murder Day" is stripped down compared to the previous album. It expels the eternal atmospheric guitar tone heard in "Dance of December Souls" and became more straightforward doom inspired. The tempos are faster and the structure of the instruments are at the typical approach heard in future Katatonia albums. The album does have those moments where it shows off its dark elements. "Murder" in particular has a great intro and its guitars are really good. "Day" does what most death-doom bands never done and that is have variety and shows off some post-punk/goth rock elements. "Endtime" is also phenomenal with having a dark intro and has dream like feelings of depression. The music was still good to listen to and managed to stand alone as a death-doom epic with a lot of graceful sounding guitars and a structure that goes together.

Jonas Renske actually doesn't assume growling duties for this album. One reviewer told me that he had only contributed to the vocals of "Day." The growling was actually done by Opeth front man Mikael Akerfeldt. What I found out was that Renske damaged his voice while doing Songs off "Dance of December Souls." I didn't realize that and now I totally understand. Nevertheless, the growling in "Brave Murder Day" was still tight and I enjoyed what Mikael brought to the table for this album.

The lyrics are also stripped down in "Brave Murder Day." It loses a lot of that poetic skill heard from the previous album, and doesn't really show an improvement in comparison. Those are my only complaints about the lyrics. Nevertheless, the lyrics in "Brave Murder Day" are still good. Sure it's simpler, but it still has that feeling of pain, and darkness. I also thought it was cool to separate each word in the album title into individual Songs. In Songs like "Murder," "Day," and "12" there's still skill that stick out from the rest of the album and show some unique depressing verses into the music.

"Brave Murder Day" took me long to get into, but still think it's a great album. I still think the album is overrated and it was one of the first steps of Katatonia's shifting music, but that doesn't make the album bad. I also still think that it is not as superior compared to "Dance of December Souls" just because this album stripped down a lot of things that made that album one of my favorites. In the past I would have just skipped this album, but nowadays I enjoy listening to this album. It still has that good pure mix of death metal and doom metal and still shows skill throughout the entire album. It's an album where I would hear inspiration from future death-doom bands and I understand why that is. This album is forever embodied as a death-doom classic.