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Killer Doomdeath! - 100%

grimdoom, May 31st, 2008

Not every band creates a masterpiece let alone a landmark album. Most only squeak by with a "good" or "great" recording that while admired by many, doesn't gain the cult status and the inevitable debate that others do. This in short, was Katatonia's finest hour.

This could be considered the birth of modern Doomdeath Metal as it doesn't follow the path of the Peaceville three. The aforementioned were crunch heavy, riff happy and structured. Katatonia on the other hand opted to open chord over 90% of this recording as well as repeat the same few riffs per song avoiding the hallmarks of what is now traditional Doomdeath.

The production is good enough for what is here. Apparently this album was written completely in the studio, perhaps causing the minimalistic characteristics more out of necessity than intention. The guitars are not all that heavy but they are menacing in a somber sort of way. There are leads woven throughout every song. The songs have a semi-droning feel to them. It also sounds as if they are in drop 'D' tuning.

The bass follows the guitars but this only adds to the downtrodden feeling. The drums are more or less played on hi-hat, bass and snare with little to no variation. This is also used to good effect as anything more would have caused this album to loose its sorrow filled vibe.

The vocals, provided by Opeth’s Mikael fit the music’s dreary attitude nicely. He sings clean on one song but the rest are his trademarked growls/shrieks. The lyrics are simplistic and depressing.

Over all this is a very emotionally stark album. Its bleakness filling the listener with dreams of oblivion. This is the album where the band developed its signature melancholy guitar sound. This album (like Paradise Losts' 'Gothic' before it) gave way to countless copycats and sound alikes even to this day. If there are any bad marks to be given it would be the band should have continued on in this style. (Granted 'October Tide' continues this style to an extent, it’s not the same).

This is a very recommended album to Doomdeath/Doom Metal fans as it’s truly a masterwork of simplicity and sadness.