Katatonia - Sounds of Decay review

Katatonia

Origin: Sweden
Active since: 1991
Genre(s): Death/doom metal
For fans of: Paradise Lost, Anathema, October Tide

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“Sounds of Decay”

The 1996 death/doom classic ”Brave Murder Day” was the result of Katatonia going into the studio with a blank page. The result was an influential doom/shoegaze hybrid with a strange, obscure vibe. This follow-up EP feels like a more deliberate version of the same musical ideas. The production is stronger and the songs feature more traditional songwriting. Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt is still on board on vocals.

As usual with Katatonia, the strength lies in dark atmosphere. The guitar melodies are simple, yet instantly strong and memorable. Some of the shoegaze influence from ”Brave Murder Day” has been replaced by old school melodic death metal moves. Dreamy moments occur, but the songs on “Sounds of Decay” has a way heavier drive.

“Sounds of Decay” tracklist

1. Nowhere
2. At Last
3. Inside the Fall

The last stand of death/doom metal Katatonia

It’s evident that this is where extreme metal Katatonia ends and later becomes the blueprint for side-project October Tide. The opening riff to ”Nowhere” sounds like a ballsier version of their 1997 debut. There are also several hypnotic clean guitar parts that remind me of it.

The strength in these songs, aside from the bleak atmosphere, lies in the strong hooks. All three songs have excellent riff and vocal hooks. I can’t really pick a favorite and I usually listen to the whole EP at once. Mikael Åkerfeldt’s vocals are much more powerful and less whispery this time around.

Simplicity is key

An interesting aspect of “Sounds of Decay” is how simple it is. There are no additional electronics and no clean vocals. I don’t even think most guitar melodies are multi-tracked. Jonas Renkse once again plays the drums, doing nothing more than keeping a steady beat. Lyrically, the band has moved away from the cryptic “Brave Murder Day” themes to more straightforward concepts of isolation and loneliness.

While this isn’t anywhere near as groundbreaking as ”Brave Murder Day”, all three songs are well-written death/doom classics. It’s a worthy last extreme metal output before Katatonia started their clean vocal era.

Soliloquium Swedish doom metal on Bandcamp

Katatonia links:

Katatonia on Facebook ->
Official Katatonia site ->

Read more:

“Brave Murder Day” review ->
“The Fall of Hearts” review and track by track analysis ->
20 best Katatonia songs ->
10 essential death/doom metal albums ->
Quality death/doom metal bands ->
Full doom metal genre guide ->
Soliloquium, Swedish doom metal ->


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