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Pure depression - 95%

Taliesin, November 29th, 2006

This is in my opinion Katatonia's best recording. Discouraged Ones basically is a continuation of the style set up by Brave Murder Day except with shorter song structures and an all clean vocal performance. Many say this is a sell out, a more rock based sound. And though it is more rock based, it is still metal, and it is no less depressing and haunting then their previous work. Also a listener who pays attention will know that this album is still based in the oblique movements of their death/black roots, and often on the first listen, or to a more commercial listener, most of these songs will be off putting and upsetting, for they have some strange changes that seem random, yet when placed in the whole of the song make sense and are effective.

Interestingly though I would say the more streamlined songs are often the most effective and depressive, songs like Deadhouse, Saw You Drown and I Break. The ultimate goal of this album is to impart upon the listener a sense of withdrawl and depression. A fragile beauty in melancholy and sadness. In this it is incredibly effective, listening to it from beginning to end creates a deep sense of coldness and not really despair, but more of a sense that the creator desires to simply be left in a dark room, meditating on all that is wrong in his life. As such there is little catharsis containted on these songs. They much like David Bowie's album Low, do not get rid of any of the depression, they simply impart upon the listener that this is the situation, and for now, nothing can be done.

The closest to doom metal Katatonia gets on here is Gone, which is a powerful piece, even if it one of the shortest. It is a desperate call, but it like all of this has nothing to resolve the pain, it is pure torment.

So allthough this album will not appeal to someone who is looking for Brave Murder Day part two, it is in my opinion their most effective recording. Much of their work following this is indeed much more commercial and mainstream, and although it has its moments, it is nothing compared to the pure depression and melancholy contained upon here. To all who enjoy music that is joyless and unrelentingly bleak, buy this album. For others it might be a good idea to listen before you buy. But from me this is highly recommended.