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Katatonia Brave Murder Day album cover
3.78 | 73 ratings | 3 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Brave (10:16)
2. Murder (4:54)
3. Day (4:28)
4. Rainroom (6:31)
5. 12 (8:18)
6. Endtime (6:45)

Total Time: 41:14

Bonus tracks on 2006 remaster:
7. Nowhere (6:08)
8. At Last (6:13)
9. Inside The Fall (6:20)

Line-up / Musicians

- Anders "Blackheim" Nystr÷m / guitars, bass
- Fredrik Norrman / guitar
- Jonas Renkse / drums, clean lead (3) & backing vocals

- Mikael ┼kerfeldt / growl vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Tom Martinsen

CD Avantgarde Music ‎- Av022 (1996, Italy)
CD Peaceville ‎- CDVILED154 (2006, Germany) Remastered by David Castillo with 3 bonus tracks

LP Northern Silence Productions ‎- nsp 009 (2004, Germany)
LP Peaceville ‎- VILELP423 (2012, Europe) Remastered by David Castillo

Thanks to Prog Sothoth for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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KATATONIA Brave Murder Day ratings distribution

(73 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

KATATONIA Brave Murder Day reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Brave Murder Day" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Swedish doom/death metal act Katatonia. The album was released through Avantgarde Music in July 1996. There have been a couple of lineup changes since the release of "Dance of December Souls (1993)", as drummer/lead vocalist Jonas Renkse has switched to clean vocals (only used sparingly on the album), and left the growling vocals to guest vocalist Mikael ┼kerfeldt (Opeth). Bassist Israphel Wing is out of the band and the bass is therefore handled by Blackheim in addition to his guitar playing duties. Fredrik Norrman has been added to the lineup has a second guitarist. Edge of Sanity frontman Dan Swan÷ (here working under his pseudonym Day DiSyraah) plays all keyboards on the album. "Brave Murder Day" was also recorded at Swan÷┤s Unisound Studio with Swan÷ handling engineering.

"Brave Murder Day" was originally send to be pressed without having been mastered and it was not until the 2006 Peaceville Records re-release of the album that it was properly mastered. The Peaceville Records version includes the "Sounds of Decay (1997)" EP as a bonus. Other re-releases feature the "For Funerals to Come (1995)" EP and the Russian label Irond Records released a version were both EPs are included. As a consequence of the lack of mastering the original version of the album features some sound issues (low audio output and lack of EQ fixes), but it┤s nothing too distracting and the sound production is generally well sounding and suits the music well.

Stylistically the music is doom/death metal, but ultimately quite different sounding to the doom/death metal style on "Dance of December Souls (1993)". Gone are the blackened elements (although ┼kerfeldt┤s vocals at times touch that territory) and the occult atmosphere of the debut album, and instead a deeply melancholic atmosphere and a dark heavy rhythmic foundation have taken their place. Some tracks have a repetitive almost ritualistic element to them but changes always happen to great effect, so repetitive sections never become tiresome. "Day" is a track which is quite different from the remaining material on the album, as it┤s a quiet song with Renkse singing clean lead vocals. It┤s melancholic and a bit monotone, and it┤s obvious it┤s an early experiement with clean vocals (which reminds me a bit of The Cure). Renkse sounds neither confident nor comfortable singing clean vocals at this point. The shoegaze influenced section on "Rainroom", which features clean vocals too, works a bit better. The growling vocals are delivered with raw power and great conviction though and ┼kerfeldt deserves praise for his performance on the album.

Other than "Day", which stands out as very different from the rest of the material, the 5 remaining tracks are all doom/death metal featuring simple heavy beats (almost too simple if you ask me), heavy downtuned riffs, melancholic lead themes, and an overall epic atmosphere. The tracks feature rather unconventional structures, and while riffs and memorable hooks do return during the tracks, the tracks aren┤t vers/chorus structured, and therefore a bit more adventurous than usual. "Brave" for example features three long consecutive sections, before section number one returns to close the track. Tracks like "12" and "Endtime" also feature what I would characterize as progressive structures. Both tracks are also quite dynamic with both epic heavy sections and more melancholic quiet clean/acoustic guitar sections.

While Katatonia have a pretty unique sound, I hear quite a few nods toward early Opeth and especially early Paradise Lost, which must have been a great influence on Katatonia┤s music. Listen to the guitar lead theme about 1:30 minutes into "Murder", and tell me that doesn┤t sound one to one like a lead theme from "Gothic (1991)" (the sophomore studio album by Paradise Lost). Katatonia even get the guitar tone right. When that is said it is seldom during the album┤s playing time that the Paradise Lost influence is that blatantly displayed, and as mentioned Katatonia generally have an easily recognisable and original sound.

Upon conclusion "Brave Murder Day" is a quality sophomore studio album by Katatonia. 1996 was probably not the best year to release an album in this style, but it is often mentioned as a seminal album in the doom/death metal genre, and rightly so. Katatonia took their music to a higher level on "Brave Murder Day" and despite a few sound production issues, and a few moments where their influences shine through a bit too much, this is a quality release featuring a unique sound and style. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I must admit I was shocked to see KATATONIA added to the site here, especially after being rejected a couple of times. I thought Dean made a good point in one of the discussions about this band by stating that all of us want our favourite bands on this site so we can discuss and review the music that means so much to us. Of course the problem is that some of our favourite bands don't qualify to be on here. So I was content to let this dream of KATATONIA being on here disappear. It's interesting that their latest album is what has qualified them for PA. A Prog-Metal album of sorts with longer songs. Interesting because their first two albums featured long tracks already which they would get away from on their third album "Discouraged Ones".

Fellow Swedes Jonas Renkse and Anders Nystrom formed the band in the early nineties and they have been friends since they were very young. Both were fanboys of PARADISE LOST and in fact loved the British Doom Metal scene which also included MY DYING BRIDE and ANATHEMA. They liked that atmospheric dynamic to the music. They were already huge Death Metal and Black Metal fans, especially of fellow Swedes BATHORY, so they created something unique by combining these sub-genres to create their own sound. OPETH and ENSLAVED would also do this adding melodic passages and atmosphere to that extreme sound. Heavy yet beautiful and sad. Gothic but with that harsh metallic edge.

And speaking of OPETH, we get Mikael Akerfeldt a friend of the band singing the harsh vocals on "Brave Murder Day" KATATONIA's second album because Jonas torched his vocals singing in that extreme manner on the first album and the tour that would follow. Jonas would sing on the track "Day" with clean, mono-toned vocals, and while fans of the band generally hated that tune it is perhaps the most significant track in their discography because it would lead to Jonas being the full time singer and of course using clean vocals only. And while "Day" is my favourite song on here, Jonas' vocals aren't the greatest but they will improve in a major way on the albums that would follow.

I don't own the debut "Dance Of December Souls" but have heard samples, and I can say that the first two albums do little for me. Death Metal fans seemed to hate the new direction they would go after this second album. For what it's worth RYM has "Brave Murder Day" rated as their best studio album. So count me in the minority as I love sad and melodic music and I feel that "Discouraged Ones"(third album) is the first great KATATONIA album, and I'm so glad they went in that direction. And while I feel that a lot of sad music is beautiful and moving, I feel that their first two albums are depressing and cold.

So "Brave Murder Day" is considered one of KATATONIA's best yet I'm not feeling it even with Akerfeldt on here. Lots of twin lead guitars, repetition, double bass drumming, growls and long songs on the first two albums, but like with ANATHEMA I prefer them when they cut out much of their Death Metal influences. Heck even the album covers that follow would improve over the first two. 3 stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Another decent death-doom release from Katatonia, Brave Murder Day is notably mostly for the extended suite formed by the title triptych of Brave, Murder, and Day; beyond that, it's more competent and entertaining death-doom material, and whilst I'm not so hot on the direction they took after this, it was probably the right call to shift direction at this point. The material here is not quite as fresh as the debut, and there's a sense towards the end of the album that Katatonia have done more or less all they can do in this particular vein and needed to look to new musical horizons if they were to find new inspiration.

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