Few days ago, legendary Swedish Metal group Katatonia celebrated with the 20th anniversary for their profound release “Tonight’s Decision.” Rock Era introduces to our fans a review for “Tonight’s Decision” on its 20th anniversary.
Alerting, aching guitar tunes followed by stormy gloomy melodies reflecting the grief of autumn starts “For My Demons”. The taste of anguish, the mood of the track highlights the dancing demons in our minds.. The slow fade-in of the starting guitar tunes reflect the noise inside the head, a sort of countdown for that moment when you go to your room have your last cigarette of the day while thinking of everything you face, all the pain and secrets you hide inside. Your pale expression, your inner strife.
Next, comes “I am Nothing”. It carries heavy tunes as the falling of heavy nights with moments somber and of sadness. It differs from the mood of the previous one, it is about the neglected souls, which carry around their wounds. You can feel the successive sounds and rhythms uttering what is hard to be expressed by words. There is a painful harmony between the sounds of the guitars expressing the dilemma of need, walking and running to the end with a noisy war in your head. It is like a bleeding soul who just needs one word to change its mind to leave this world behind. It’s now the turn of “In Death, A Song”. It’s highly dynamic yet dark at the same time. The bitter, yet melodious, sounds express the darkness inside the soul after being wounded from those closest to you. There is glimpse of groove and melancholic rhythms which are repeated in the songs’ sequence.
When “Had to (Leave)” comes in, it seems slower than the other two songs, but it is framed in sounds and the rhythms that make feel like you are stepping out towards something. It carries deep and depressively inked feelings could be somehow remind me of the misty sounds of Depressive Black Metal. There are some electronic/ambient touches within the instrumental portion portraying the decision of death.
Next up is, “This Punishment,” it is a harsh track, although, not complex musically, but the backdrop created by guitars and cymbals give it a slightly psychedelic impression. It seems like a short interlude, a short hidden story for the unknown man, that is the impression I get when looking at how the song beings and how it ends.
“Right into the Bliss” for me is one of the best songs on the album. The intro itself is highly tuneful; there is a deep sense of anguish in the vocal performance. It almost could be considered the climax of the album. Next we have, “No Good Can Come of This”, which sounds as if it could be a continuation of the same melodic theme of the album opener, the aforementioned “For My Demons”. “Strained” is one of the best written and performed songs on the album, there are remarkable, catchy guitar melodies throughout, and it captures the ears easily. The music of the song itself can give you the impression of a horrific end, the darkness on the other side! In comes…“A Darkness Coming”!
“A Darkness Coming” is calm; enriched with acoustic guitar tunes. You can feel its tunes of it slowly crushing your shattered heart; it is the sound of death or a ballad to death. A simple yet painful bass line complements and completes the anguish and the sadness. This is easily my favorite song besides “I am Nothing” and “In a Death Song.” The mood shifts in the middle for a minute to give the listener a little breather followed by an even more painful, melodic riff!
After that comes a Jeff Buckley cover song. Katatonia have chosen “Nightmares by the Sea” and the band succeeds in “Katatoni-zing” the original to perfectly melt and blend in with the mood of the album. Finally, “Black Session” is one of the heaviest songs on and is a finalization of the album’s concept. It carries that same mood of “For My Demons” and “I am Nothing.”
Finally, in come the two bonus tracks (recorded during the same recording sessions, but were left unreleased for a while.) “No Devotion” and “Fractured.” Both pieces are performed perfectly and they complete the full image of the album’s mood. There is a beautiful usage for chords and melodies.
To sum things up, “Tonight’s Decision” for me is one of the best depression-dressed albums ever. There is melodic enrichment throughout the whole album. Just looking at the gorgeous cover artwork (done by longtime collaborator and artist Travis Smith) delivers the mood of the album. The unknown faceless ghost of a dead man; who may have died of neglect, committed suicide…simply faceless! Unidentified! Only death recognizes him, symbolized in a crow.
Edited by: Tarek Shehata