I can't think of a more perfect album for autumn than Katatonia's "Discouraged Ones", released in 1998 by Avantgarde Music (and licensed by Century Media). This is by far my favorite time of the year, and "Discouraged Ones" is one of my favorite albums of all time (though I've somehow never managed to gush about it until now). I think it was probably around 1999 when I first checked out Katatonia. I bought "Brave Murder Day" because Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt performed the bulk of the vocals on the album, and I was a huge Opeth worshiper at the time. But Katatonia almost completely changed styles in the two years between "Brave Murder Day" and "Discouraged Ones", and of course a number of their old school fans absolutely hated it, so there were a lot of negative statements to be found regarding this material back when I was first discovering the band. As a result, I foolishly waited longer than I should have to give Katatonia's "second phase" a try.
When I finally did, I started with "Discouraged Ones", and couldn't get my my jaw off the floor by the midway point of the album. (The very first time I heard "Gone" I seriously almost cried, it's gotta be one of the most beautifully depressing songs ever recorded.) You'll often see terms like "gothic metal" or "dark rock" applied to Katatonia's later material, and such descriptions aren't inaccurate, but... they don't exactly paint a precise picture, either. But what is it, exactly? How do you describe this? The pulsing, repetitious rhythms; the monotone singing; the sodden clean passages, droning melodies, and cryptic lyrics? In many ways this is the band at their most stripped down and simplistic, thus boasting their most direct and emotional atmospheres. I absolutely adore all of their material, but this album remains my personal favorite from their extensive discography. Every single track is mesmerizing and memorable, and I still get chills with every listen. Post-"Brave Murder Day" there's no other band quite like 'em.
Katatonia "Cold Ways"
Katatonia "Saw You Drown"
Katatonia "I Break"
As through your shattered eyes, it all came together. And your heart cries, weeping through the weather. Another way to change your mind, I'm weaker than they say. To leave this all behind, the only way to stay. Don't you know? I'm the end of what will be. And right below us, the last place you will see...
"Discouraged Ones" has very rightfully been reissued a number of times on various formats over the years, so it's still rather easy to acquire both new and used... though mostly on special edition vinyl, and not digitally for some reason!? Go figure...
CM Distro (LP)
Hells Headbangers (2xLP)
Relapse Records (2xLP)
Svart Records (2xLP)
the Svart reissue of this and “Tonight’s Decision"are both absolutely crucial, especially since they tack on the extra EP tracks as a bonus
10.7.2011 | By Avi
This is one of the few band which release more than few albums and I’ve purchased almost every one. I didn’t listen Katatonia for some time new but this is one of the best bands ever! Hate it or love it, you must admit that they know how to make music which touches you, and maybe even changes you…
10.8.2011 | By Carlos
I remember back in the olden days I found a prehistoric “blog” that really put my 56.6k modem to the test and it had “Deadhouse” since that day I’m a fan, I tend to put Brave Murder Day before Discouraged because some events that I associate with it but it’s definitely a landmark album and a band that definitely has improved with each album. Katatonia and Opeth used to be top dogs in my opinion but Opeth sort of lost me by losing the dynamics with each release while Katatonia has done nothing but hone their craft.
10.11.2011 | By LuisB