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Discouraged Ones

Sweden Country of Origin: Sweden

1. I Break
2. Stalemate
3. Deadhouse
4. Relention
5. Cold Wags
6. Gone
7. Last Resort
8. Nerve
9. Saw You Drown
10. Instrumental
11. Distrust

Review by Luka on April 13, 2002.

It’s 2 A.M. and I’m desperately trying to fall asleep, eyes refuse to close, mind refuses to calm, perhaps music will help clear it. I glance at my pile of unheard CD’s: most of them ear-assaulting black or death metal that would require undivided focus and attention... no. Ahh, here we go! Good old Katatonia, slow and hypnotic. The name sounds promising of sleep and calm, I press ‘play’...

Ten seconds into the album and I realize their sound has barely changed from the “Brave Murder Day” trademark of slow and solid atmospheric guitar-driven melancholy. Good. Right now I don’t want any weird-ass techno-experimentation or elaborate work that most metal bands today are toying with, I want something familiar, I want sleep.

The simple opening riff, as always, ever so slowly changes into a subtle and absolutely gut-wrenching melody... again I marvel at the undeniable charm of this band! I am falling into a trance as I listen to this song, it’s so beautiful and sad. Jonas Renske, while sounding a little weak and unaccustomed, has made a complete switch to clear vocals and mended the only significant flaw in the band. The music is subtle and slow, the first song is ending, I am half awake and mesmerized, once that sad harmonic sound kicks in to the guitars you just wanna cry.

Entranced in the music and lost in some half-dream I continue my strange journey... The songs are taking me to places far away: 'Stalemate' plunges me into the deep, cold bowels of the earth with the dark and ambient section midway, the distant sounds of seals in 'Deadhouse' take me past the sunset to the tranquil northern ocean where no one lives. I am soaring over a haze of frost, I am soaring over the mists of depression.

'Cold Ways' takes me back to familiar scenes of ordinary life but progresses the journey of emotion to even sadder realms. Renske is practically crying as he sings the sorrowful chorus line “in my eyes, you’re a lie”, and hell, there comes that gut-wrenching lead guitar harmony again. It’s brilliant, how they twist and tow and play around with some of the most raw human emotions like toys... The next song put me to sleep, my mind was drained. I played the album the next day and the songs were even better, and better yet the listen after that. Release the sounds of this album when you’re down, relaxed and staring into nothing. It’s quite a trip...

Bottom Line: This is one of the saddest and most depressing (yet beautiful) albums I’ve ever heard in my life. If that’s your thing then this album is obligatory.

Originality: 9
Musicianship: 7
Atmosphere: 10
Production: 8
Overall: 9

Rating: 8.6 out of 10

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