Mikael Åkerfeldt did this one album with Katatonia – ‘Brave Murder Day’, and his influence here is quite conspicuous. Within their whole catalog, this record is unique for its absolutely depressive death/doom imprint. Meandering riffs with dry shallow growls, layered atop melancholic leads — consequence is this splendidly agonizing atmosphere. Åkerfeldt’s discernible growls – “I know your smile is deadly at this point. Wherever you are, I am not” – crafts an equally uncommon emotional depth.
With occasional thick down-tuned riffs, the record also exhibits those murky funereal doom like contours. Åkerfeldt’s vocals – “I saw it end long before it ended, Life itself turned pale and ended” – hammers in that very Scandinavian grimness. The song does run into markedly heavy drums, eventually fading off towards that very pale ending. Dragged out growls with guitar strumming does illustrate how vocals can be akin to an instrument in extreme metal.
“Endtime” finally brings this death/doom torment towards a sober, but still forceful, ending – “Pierced by the darkness. They called it death. And surrounded me with sleep”. Undoubtedly, that unusually inhuman vocal shriek is more commonly found in the genres shaped by Norwegians. The record fades away, but Åkerfeldt’s dank vocal gnarls might just leave a lasting impression.