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Katatonia Last Fair Deal Gone Down album cover
4.13 | 99 ratings | 4 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dispossession (5:36)
2. Chrome (5:14)
3. We Must Bury You (2:50)
4. Teargas (3:23)
5. I Transpire (5:56)
6. Tonight's Music (4:20)
7. Clean Today (4:23)
8. The Future of Speech (5:40)
9. Passing Bird (3:38)
10. Sweet Nurse (3:57)
11. Don't Tell a Soul (5:42)

Total Time 50:39

Bonus tracks on 2004 & 2007 reissues:
12. Sulfur (6:23)
13. March 4 (3:53)
14. Help Me Disappear (5:14)

Line-up / Musicians

- Jonas Renkse / lead & backing vocals
- Anders "Blackheim" Nyström / guitar, Mellotron
- Fredrik Norrman / guitar
- Mattias Norrman / bass
- Daniel Liljekvist / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Travis Smith

CD Peaceville ‎- CDVILE 89 (2001, UK)
CD Peaceville ‎- CDVILED 89 (2004, UK) Remastered with 3 bonus tracks

2LP Peaceville ‎- VILELP 89 (2007, UK) Remastered with 3 bonus tracks

Thanks to Prog Sothoth for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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KATATONIA Last Fair Deal Gone Down ratings distribution

(99 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

KATATONIA Last Fair Deal Gone Down reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars For my tastes this is where KATATONIA finally found their sound and could do no wrong. Yes "Discouraged Ones" will always be one of my top albums by this band but that was a unique album in that it was an incredibly sad record and also a transitionary recording as well, and these are not a negative things at all in my opinion. Everything about this album trumps the previous record "Tonight's Decision". There's better vocals and song writing from Jonas as I feel he has finally hit his potential here. Also the sound here couldn't be better, crystal clear as they say and this is also much more dynamic and powerful as they really do kick some ass on this album. Oh and as a bonus Anders the long time guitarist decided to use mellotron on this record which really adds a lot to the sound. Travis Smith is back doing the cover art and his bleak style fits the music perfectly.

I can't do a top three as eight of the eleven songs on here are incredible and I really like the other three, so yes five stars seems appropriate. "Dispossession" sounds incredible when it kicks into gear before 30 seconds. Such a deep and powerful sound as the guitar starts to solo over top. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in as it settles, mellotron too. Love the contrasts between the powerful and mellow sections. A cool passage starts after 4 minutes with atmosphere and strummed guitar, almost psychedelic sounding then it kicks back in before 5 minutes. Nice. "Chrome" is a great track and probably my favourite. Check out that melancholic guitar intro which is promptly blown away before a minute with power. The drumming impresses here. Reserved vocals and sound 1 1/2 minutes in then it kicks in hard after 2 minutes as the vocals continue. He sings "Burn down my house, make something happen, stab me in the heart... 'cause I'm so distracted, I am slightly shocked by how things keep going like a dead man's clock."

"We Must Bury You" has some disturbing lyrics but man what a great tune. Strummed guitar and vocals lead the way early and we get some mellotron before it kicks in hard before a minute. Jonas sings with passion "We must bury you, we must bury you, we must bury you so deep that none can find you." I skipped writing down the disturbing lyrics from earlier in the song. The contrasts between the powerful and mellow are so good! "Teargas" hits us with an all out assault quickly but it settles down just as fast with reserved vocals. The chorus is intense and moving as Jonas sings "What is it in my eyes, a piece of glass. Is this the time I should be on my knees for you, is this your way telling another has been found. Now I know teargas in my eyes." Gulp.

"I Transpire" hits the ground running then it calms right down after a minute with mellotron, vocals and more. How good is the chorus as it kicks back in. Contrasts continue. He sings "Do they know I'm afraid, so afraid. They depend on my worries so I know I'm awake, I'm right in the circle now, I am with them." Hair-raising imagery. "Tonight's Music" is another good one as they contrast the heavy and mellow sections well. Such a sad tune lyrically but then Jonas has this gift for writing melancholic music. "Clean Today" has some cool lyrics about hope. Some heavy riffs in this one as well which surprised me the first time I heard it.

"The Future Of Speech" opens with mellotron and picked guitar in this atmospheric intro. It kicks in hard with vocals arriving just before a minute. The laid back intro with mellotron returns as this continues to be contrasted with the powerful passages. Guitar only before 4 minutes then it kicks back in. So good as Jonas sings with emotion "A brand new day it can't get worse, hear myself say it can't get worse." "Passing Bird" is different as he tells a story about a girl. A melodic and mid-paced tune with the focus on the relaxed vocals. I really dig the lyrics, mellotron and depth of sound here. "Sweet Nurse" is another good story about a girl. I'm touched by this one and I really like the chorus, it's so uplifting. "Don't Tell A Soul" ends it and it starts with laid back guitar, bass and a beat as the mellotron joins in. Riffs follow around a minute in then vocals. I like the drumming here and the ripping guitar before 4 minutes as the vocals stop. Riffs and vocals return around 5 minutes in.

A top three album for me for 2001. A really good place to start as well in my opinion with this band.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" is the 5th full-length studio album by Swedish alternative/doom/progressive rock/metal act Katatonia. The album was released through Peaceville Records in May 2001. It´s the successor to "Tonight´s Decision" from 1999 and features a couple of lineup changes as bassist Mattias Norrman and drummer Daniel Liljekvist have been added to the lineup. It was the first stable lineup in the band´s career, and it would last on four consequtive albums.

Stylistically "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" continues the alternative rock/metal style of "Tonight´s Decision (1999)", but with a stronger focus on variation between tracks and experimentation with song structures and compositional details. Listening to "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" it becomes clear that the two direct predecessors were transitional albums, and that this album is a more complete release. Not that Katatonia stopped progressing at this point, because that´s far from true (and in that respect this album can also be called a transitional album), but to my ears this is the first Katatonia album which sounds completely satisfying, and where I don´t have any complaints about sub par sound productions, underdeveloped drumming, or untrained/uncertain clean vocal performances. They hit magic here and maybe the last couple of albums should be viewed as training exercises to hone their songwriting and playing skills, to make them ready to write and record "Last Fair Deal Gone Down".

Katatonia already stripped most of their early death/doom elements on "Discouraged Ones (1998)", and although both that album and "Tonight´s Decision (1999)" are still fairly heavy albums, they are not the most metal oriented albums. Instead it´s artists like Tool and The Cure, or maybe more correctly a combination of heavy alternative rock/metal and dark new wave/alternative rock, which is a more valid description of the band´s music. That description is true for the material on "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" too. There is a lot of use of light/dark atmospheres and heavy and mellow sections, and Jonas Renkse´s melancholic lyrics and vocal performance aren´t far removed from the most dark and depressive Robert Smith (The Cure) moments (take a listen to "Tonight´s Music" and see if you disagree). Katatonia have audible influences but they still manage to create a personal and unique sound, and they are one of those rare artists who are instantly recognisable.

The conscious decision to write a varied album with strong individual tracks while still maintaining a strong tracklist flow and album coherence works here and each track stand out clearly. While all tracks are high quality material, I´d mention the four opening tracks ("Dispossession", "Chrome", "We Must Bury You", and "Teargas"), "Tonight´s Music", and "Sweet Nurse", as some of the highlights of the album. The performances are strong on all posts, and although it´s impossible not to mention Renkse´s soft voice, and heartfelt and melancholic delivery, the instrumental performances deserve just as much praise. There is a near perfect balance between heavy loud playing and mellow softer sections, and the transitions between the two types of sections work well. Add to those elements a powerful, detailed, and well sounding production, and "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" is through and through a high quality release. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Review by Necrotica
5 stars How many of you remember listening to your first album that was truly dark? And I'm not just talking about some brooding breakup songs by an arena rock band, but something in which you can actually feel the dread and melancholy pouring out of the speakers? I can safely say that I remember my first experience: with Katatonia's 2006 effort The Great Cold Distance. The moment "Leaders" blasted its way into my stereo with its grim atmosphere and doomy chugging, it felt like I entered a different world entirely. The songwriting was (and still is) fantastic, but the vibe was what really set it apart. Between the hopelessness in Jonas Renkse's crooning and the often sluggish-yet- diverse songwriting, Katatonia sparked my love and fascination with the darker side of music as a whole. But little did I know back then that the entirety of the band's catalog was a goldmine of alternative doom, and little did I know that my favorite record by them wouldn't even be one of the records I grew up with.

Gradually I turned back the clock on my Katatonia, checking out their back catalogue to get the full scope of their evolution. As I went further and further back, the band's original death/doom roots were becoming more and more apparent. But, of course, one thing never really changed: the atmosphere. Regardless, as both the alternative and doom metal sides of the band are incredibly well-executed, I often found that the records that combined both styles would be my favorites in their body of work. And from that thought process emerged my love for the majesty that was Last Fair Deal Gone Down. It was a gradual process, but eventually this one won over the others. Basically, if I had to describe the album in a nutshell, it would be "alternative doom metal with hints of progressive rock"; of course, there's a bit of irony in the fact that this sounds nothing like the Robert Johnson song of the same name. The experience is a beautiful synthesis of melodious hooks, subtle shifts in rhythm and texture, and downtuned riffing that really drives the melancholy and aggression home. That being said, the songcraft displayed here is simply incredible, and some instrumental oddities (such as the orchestration in "The Future of Speech" or the mellotron in "Don't Tell a Soul") expand on the musical ideas quite a bit.

But right from the beginning, Last Fair Deal Gone Down lets us know it's going to be an experience. The soft opening guitar licks of "Dispossession" sound like a blue sky immediately shifting to a dull gray, as if distorting our very world around us. What I'm saying is: the atmosphere is [%*!#]ing potent on this one. Granted, the tight riffing and intelligent songwriting pull it through just as well. The way that opener builds and builds before even reaching its first verse is admirable, especially in how well Katatonia can keep expanding on the same motif without making it boring. Hell, "The Future of Speech" and "We Must Bury You" place much more emphasis on lingering on the soft ballad-like sections instead, and it's just as effective. The cool thing about Katatonia in general is that they can use their technical prowess and diverse compositions to give us endless variations on the same mood. They might constantly be dark and dismal, but they've shown us that it can be expressed in such a variety of ways. This is even true for "Sweet Nurse" and "Teargas," which happen to be the most accessible and pop-oriented cuts of the bunch. If Katatonia ever had singles (perhaps if they started around the grunge era?), these lean slabs of alternative metal would probably make it on a greatest hits compilation. That's not a bad thing, of course, as the catchy choruses and Nirvana-esque "soft verses, booming choruses" they employ are memorable and well-executed.

I think the combination of atmosphere and diversity are really what put this above the other Katatonia releases. The band's whole discography is worth a listen, but there's often been an issue regarding the band being "too consistent and same-y." It's not an unfounded claim either, as the whole "doom-laden alternative metal" thing has been their trademark sound since Discouraged Ones all the way back in 1998. So it's a tried-and-true sound by this point. But in Last Fair Deal Gone Down, every song has its purpose in the tracklisting. Even the shorter pieces, such as the rhythmically-varied "We Must Bury You" and the slow funeral dirge of "Passing Bird" display variation in both the songwriting and mood of the album. The latter is particularly interesting, as the lyrics take on a more lifeless nature as Jonas drearily sings "too much [%*!#]ing emo; it's false, I know." But honestly, my personal favorite song on offer here is the midtempo chugger "I Transpire." The entire track has lyrical themes of being trapped and constricted by people who tap into the narrator's fears and worries, and the dark ambience behind Anders Nydstrom's guitar leads is so thick and palpable that the chorus comes off as both chilling and beautiful. If you just listen to one song off the album, I highly recommend that one.

But if you enjoy either alternative metal or doom metal, I really do recommend the entire thing. Last Fair Deal Gone Down is one of the most gorgeous and brutally honest depictions of melancholy I've ever heard in rock music, and the music backing it all is just as strong. Katatonia were at the peak of their powers here, and the melding of the band's alternative future and doom metal past was at its most balanced and fleshed-out state. This album combined the band's roots with their eventual stylistic shift, but it somehow captured the best of both in the process. I'm grateful for Katatonia's entire body of work and its powerful expressions of honest emotions, but Last Fair Deal Gone Down is the one I'm most grateful for.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Heavy, dark guitar-driven music with modern vocals. The metal lightens up at times but the mood never does. I'm reminded frequently of Opeth--both dark progressive metal from Sweden. But "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" doesn't have the growls that Opeth often does. This is good music--well-produce ... (read more)

Report this review (#2920483) | Posted by Idaho | Saturday, April 29, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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