2022 reissue on black vinyl
The first of two Katatonia discs to feature Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth subbing for regular vocalist Jonas Renske, Brave Murder Day is perhaps the most thorough and accomplished first-phase release from the Swedish death/doom outfit. The music is simple, almost trance-like gothic metal topped with Åkerfeldt’s signature shouts and growls. Dynamics aren’t exactly places at a premium on Brave Murder Day, but quieter moments on tracks like “Day” are a nice touch. These softer spots never really hint at the band’s coming genre shift, and unlike later outings, there are no borderline alternative rock moments on Brave Murder Day. This should delight fans of Katatonia’s earliest recordings. Consistent and committed to its gloomy theme, this 1997 Century Media offering represents the metallic high-water mark from an ever-evolving group.