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Review of the Album "Discouraged Ones" by Swedish Band Katatonia

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

Jonas Renkse


The Significance of the Album Discouraged Ones

Discouraged Ones is the 3rd studio album by Swedish metal band Katatonia released in 1998 and it is also their first studio album that breaks away musically from their doom and death metal style. We would not be giving these guys enough credit if we did not analyze more of their studio albums. Lyrically the album addresses the concepts of being broken and discouraged enough to close our eyes and shut the door on our lives though not necessarily literally. We feel that certain things are not the way they used to be.


Perspective About Katatonia's Style Change

However, when some bands totally depart from their original style, it is a very nice and refreshing change because they are still able to create music that is respectable even with the flaws. There are times when a musically lighter album is more manageable than a melodic death metal album. It would have been unrealistic to expect Katatonia to release the same type of album every time.

The album is in a way a transitional sort of album for these guys and it set a sort of musical precedent that they have stuck to ever since. Of all the significant Swedish metal bands that come to mind, Katatonia may be the one that changed their style the earliest, in this case prior to the dawn of the 21st century. I like to look at albums such as this one like Before the Dawn without the growling style vocals.


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Songs Such as Deadhouse and Relention are Strong

Though the song called “Deadhouse” has a beautiful acoustic section in it and it sounds like a cliché to say that this is one of the best aspects for Swedish metal bands but bands from this country know how to have varying musical styles in the same song that work out very well. “Relention” is one of those songs that you may find yourself singing along with. The song is lyrically about someone that has no idea where he has been. Is he sleeping in the dark? “Cold Ways” is a song that lyrically is about someone that is living the life of a deceptive individual and not everyone can live in this way. In the other person’s perspective, they feel that they are being lied to.

Further Perspective About a Transitional Album for Katatonia

This album is one of those that can make you feel your emotions to the fullest extent but this is not a sorrow filled metal album by any means. Having listened through the first four releases of Katatonia more than once, they are not as stellar as their countrymen Dark Tranquillity or In Flames but they are a musically diverse group of guys which is obviously a very positive trait to have. Katatonia’s music provides a sort of relaxing, chill feel that other Swedish metal bands do not. Maybe sometimes what we need in the metal genre is something more relaxing and a chill kind of feel. This album could be considered a warm-up for these guys as they were making a transition into a new kind of style.

© 2021 Ara Vahanian

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