Compositions included in the first mini-CD were written by Renkse and Nyström when they were only 17. However paradoxically it may seem, "Jhva Elohim Meth" ("god is dead" in hebrew) is a very serious and obscure album, there's not a bit of naivety usually residing to the teenager bands, for example The Gathering or Amorphis. Disc is opened with 'prologue' - a laconic acoustic melody, which forestalls hit number one "Without God", existing at least in three variants in different records. Properly speaking, all the rest songs are just pathos ornament of "Without God" represented back at the promotape, and their contents is inspired by epic hyperborean mythology. In the epilogue we can hear the sound of falling drops with ambient warm pad background. These are tears of blood dripping.
Jhva Elohim Meth... the Revival ‘1992
Not every band is destined to start the career with SUCH a debut! Here you can find almost everything: from monotonous gothic background and doom guitar fingerings to death vocal and black themes in lyrics. The album is flashy with instrumental tunes strongly affecting your opinion on the album, because they involuntarily cast night cold north pictures, wild winds, illusory light from heaven during fullmoon and translucent souls in the sky. Death vocal of Lord Renkse coupled with music makes to understand them not as just another In Flames or Dark Tranquility, but as a band carving it's way without habitual style limits. Especially worth mentioning is composition "Without God", which became an anthem against religion, conservatism and banal code of dogmas. However some critics have an opinion that Katatonia pursued one goal on their debut CD - to imitate the sound of popular at that time bands Tiamat and Paradise Lost. And indeed superficial audition of the album may form such an impression, but this refers to so many masterpieces! Nowadays the album is considered to be one of the best releases of '93. Recommended for audience to persons, tired of Edge Of Sanity tedium and '95-97 Immortal monotony, might be well out of city and as far as possible in winter.
Dance of December Souls ’93
Splendid mini-CD, next to full-length album, back in 1994. Here the formula of gothic, found on "Dance..." is emphasized, but it is represented(in my particullary personal opinion) in it's most hard and malicious manifestations. In a song "For Funerals To Come" Renkse sings clean (it was then when they began to deviate little by little from growling, but that was not very obvious). The most atmospheric and malicious composition is closing "Epistel", consisting of noises, unadjusted sounds, spitefully constrained whispers and wind moanings. This mini is a sort of logical completion of full-length album of '93, the same way as mini "Jhva Elohim Meth... The Revival" is it's beginning. Truth to tell, the similarity is not in the presence of the same songs, in contrast to "Jhva Elohim Meth... The Revival" all the songs in "For Funerals To Come" are unique and not included somewhere else. In January Avangarde Music decided to reissue this unfading creation of Katatonia. Should be also mentioned that at this time Israphel leaves the band, and a substitute was begun to look for.
For Funerals To Come… ‘94
I doubt if you find more individual album on the modern metal scene. The album took 12th place among the best metal albums of nineties. It may probably be because of some changes in the band, but the progress is present, and it's achieved with outstanding talent and persevering rehearsals. After recording "For Funerals to Come" Israphel leaves the band and Katatonia stays duet for a while. The gap was bridged by magnificent guitarrist Fredrik Norrman, remaining the third member of the band till today. But an interesting and amusing fact was discovered before the beginning studio work - Renxy couldn't sing with his death vocal. They tried to pull something like growling out of him - but all in vain. The question about session vocalist was put. Only one candidature fitted. That was Mike Akerfeldt from Opeth, acquainted with Renkse and Nyström since 1990. He performed vocals on the fundamental death-culture Edge Of Sanity album "Crimson" in the same year, but I should say that what we hear on "Brave Murder Day" cannot be compared with "Crimson" at all. Here is torment of a man doomed to eternal suffering and psychodelic atmospherity (it is really not to tell - need to hear), and hellish agression, and...and... well, you'll hear everything you want. It is professionaly shown on this album how to make bridges from fluent guitar-drums melodies to tough smashing, casting cheerless visions of grey scorched earth and the same grey sky. Vocal activity of Renkse lied in singing in the song "Day", played only on guitar (members of the band themselves always told the guitar is their main instrument). It nicely adds to the album with its dissimilitude to other songs, it is literally imbued with the spirit of a tired man. According to numerous opinions, "Endtime" is considered to be the most atmosperic song on the album. It goes without saying - the end of the times is not to be sneezed at. In the same year Katatonia together with their brothers Primordial recorded split-EP, which included song "Scarlet Heavens". This track is virtually 100% gothic with Renkse's clean vocals. I can't say anything about this album, because I had no opportunity to listen to it. The only song from it was "Scarlet Heavens" which I heared from the most rare Katatonia release "Saw You Drawn". So, what can I say - a ballade with quiet Renkse's voice, calling up thoughts about something distant from Earth.
Brave Murder Day ‘96
Exceptional Mike's vocals evidently impressed guys from Katatonia and they decided to record together one more release - a mini-CD "Sounds Of Decay".
A minion like previous albums was recorded at Unisound Studio under the supervision of Dan Swano. The MCD is made in tune with "Brave Murder Day" and logically accomplishes it just as "For Funerals To Come" accomplishes "Dance Of December Souls". But you'll hear nothing new on this album, everything was said on the previous creation. Here they laid emphasis on perfecting vocal and guitar and drums playing. After such a productive cooperation, Mike concentrated all his might for making music in his native band Opeth, and guys from Katatonia negotiated a contract with Century Media, engaging to keep bands interests overseas. They also changed logo. They have also changed logo and affiliated bassist Micke Oretoft, who helped the band in 1996 during liveset "Brave Murder Day". And hence Jonas Renkse besides drumming and wailing in microphone has begun playing axe. And now, in summer 1997 as a quartet the band sat down at Sunlight Studio to record new material. This time in producers capacity stepped forth legendary Tomas Skogsberg (he had worked earlier with Grave, Entombed, Amorphis, Dark Throne, Dismember, Cemetary, Lake Of Tears, At The Gates and many others), because former Dan Swano concluded with producer activity referring to his as thought 'lack of experience' and bad equipment of his Unisound Studio. In January, before publishing full-length album, KATATONIA have issued limited to 1500 copies EP "Saw Your Drown"
Sounds of Decay ‘97
As Nyström and Renkse announced, the album is a creation for superfans and collectors. The only song, issued only on this album is "Quiet World". A very calm and melancholic conception of playing make it notewothy enough against background of the whole album. But this mini was just a harbinger of a full-length work, which hit all the tops and brought really new sound of Katatonia.
Saw Your Drown ‘98
I have to say, my impression (like impressions of many thousands of fans, having heard this new work after "Brave Murder Day") was full disappointed. "Katatonia betrayed metal! They began to play some pop nonsense!", much time was needed (more than year for me) to understand WHAT created these swedish gods of disharmony. Nowadays this album can be boldly considered to be one of the three most depressive albums in heavy music. Katatonia turned down growling and emphasized guitar ruses (Sunlight Studio added garage sound to them, and this only strengthened depression and melancholy). Mike Akerfeldt didn't take part in recording the album, but brought some ideas about recording and mixing. It turned out that Renxy controls his voice much better when not wheezing! The album is more understandable than previous ones because, as band members say, is built in a system of verse-chorus. As Nyström and Renkse didn't want to hide themselves behind complicated half-mystical phrases, they composed very simple but excessively depressive lyrics. This was concerned with, as Nyström says, "he had a burden of responsibility, 'cause there was another vocal on this album". As for me, I can give a reference to listen it at night and with no one present within a radius of hundred meters. So, Katatonia wasn't scared and continued their experiments that shaped in a year in recording their 4th full-length creation "Tonight's Decision".
Discouraged Ones ‘98
This album broke all my conception about gothic metal and gothic rock. When issuing this album, some people often compared Katatonia with Anathema and takled of that new Katatonia work would hardly spit further than Anathema's "Judgement". In my opinion this is mistakenly to compare bright Anathema sorrow to Katatonia depression. Despair - this is a formula, found by the band on their new album. Jonas' voice turns almost into weeping, and guitar playing is just splendiferous. However "Tonight's Decision" showed no new sound, it continues last year's "Discouraged Ones", but as musicians state, "on the new album the guitars are a little more slick, but on 'Discouraged Ones' they sound like they were recorded in a garage or whatever". The band also made a cover-version of Jeff Buckley's song "Nightmares by the Sea". And like on any other Katatonia work, this album wasn't left without changings in cast. Renxy is now concentrated only on vocal parts, and restless Dan Swano sat down at drums. Fred Norrman began playing bass besides usual guitar. Only Anders' role remained without changes: guitars, keyboards, back vocals. And again Katatonia didn't stay within the style limits and composed something lying somewhere between doom, gothic and death.
Tonight’s Decision ’99