Katatonia – Discouraged Ones

Katatonia’s Discouraged Ones album marked a drastic change in sound. It was the first album to feature exclusively Jonas Renkse’s clean vocals. He had done growled vocals on their debut and later was aided by Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt for growled vocals on Brave Murder Day. Discouraged Ones has become a classic Katatonia album and one that established their sound. I began listening to Katatonia with their The Great Cold Distance album and had difficulty getting each of their prior albums. Discouraged Ones was perhaps the most difficult for me, but it is now among my favorite Katatonia albums. The songs that make up this album are generally simple in structure. Much of the guitar work consists of simple, repetitive chords, but this helps give the album a very hypnotic feel. Some of the guitar work is similar to some parts of Brave Murder Day. This atmosphere is strengthened by Renkse’s seemingly discouraged and tired vocals. He does not feel as comfortable with his voice as on future releases, but this helps give this album a stronger sense of geniality. Renkse also performs the drums, which are again simple, yet tasteful. The bridge sections of the songs are varied, and provide changes compared to the rest of the song. Deadhouse is a standout track that is very melancholic and has a nice bridge section with whale song. Cold Ways and Saw You Drown are other great tracks. Some of the songs have hints of The Cure and Fields of the Nephilim, which are strong influences of the band. Gone is a brutally depressive song—and among Katatonia’s most depressing. The instrumental track also has a nice solo by Anders Nystrom, and finally, this album closes with the dreary Distrust as Renkse takes the listener off towards oblivion. Each Katatonia album has its own distinct sound and the aptly titled Discouraged Ones is no different. Discouraged Ones is a classic Katatonia album and one that cemented their place as masters of melancholy.

Genre: Doom Metal, Depressive Rock
Country: Sweden
Label: Avantgarde Music
Release: April 27, 1998

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

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