Tonight’s Decision is a transitional stage for the band, changing from the bleaker and harder hitting Doom
band they once were to the more accessible depressive rock oriented sound of today. Unlike the suicidal dirge of Discouraged Ones
, Tonight’s Decision functions on a more rock oriented template, although there is still a strong sense of melodic doom the way in which the bands sound is massively different to what came before. Brave Murder Day
was the album that marked Katatonia
’s change in style, it was their first release to include the signature clean vocals, the songs were more accessible and melodic than those found on Dance of December Souls
and elements of their newer sound can be found in trace amounts. Discouraged Ones
despite lacking a lot of metal elements can still be seen as the spiritual successor to Brave Murder Day
, carrying on with the repetitive and minimalistic song structures, Discouraged Ones
carried on with the song writing elements on Brave Murder Day
yet halved the song lengths and dropped a lot of the metal elements. Discouraged Ones
can best be described as a less metal, more rock and exclusively cleanly sung version of Brave Murder Day
. Tonight’s Decision carries on with the clean style the band created on Discouraged One’s yet taking it into a more alternative and gothic direction. Jonas
Renkse’s clean vocals have massively improved from Discouraged One’s, the songs aren’t as depressing yet they’re still plenty miserable and overall there’s less doom metal incorporated.
If Discouraged Ones
can be seen as a “clean” doom metal album, then Tonight’s Decision can be seen as a clean album with doom metal influences. Although Discouraged Ones
did lack a lot of metal elements, the primary aesthetics and atmosphere of doom metal was still there, it was still pretty much doom, granted it was accessible and rock oriented but still the atmosphere was still there. Tonight’s Decision on the other hand seems to drop most of the doom metal elements and incorporates elements of gothic rock and alternative metal, branching them further apart from their previous albums. The most noticeable change could be seen in the tone of this album, far removed from the funereal dirge of Dance of December Souls
, the bleak and somber atmosphere of Brave Murder Day
or the suicidal doom of Discouraged Ones
, Tonight’s Decision isn’t as emotionally hard hitting and draining as previous Katatonia
albums. The tone of the music is overall far less bleak, whereas Discouraged Ones
was absolutely drained of energy, it felt worn out and languid, the overall atmosphere presented was one of those who have given up on life, Discouraged Ones
was about as suicidal as this band could possibly get. Tonight’s Decision takes the bands atmosphere in another direction, it is still emotional and miserable yet it doesn’t sound as worn out and languid. It feels more alive, more human. It doesn’t drip with depression and negativity, the atmosphere is more of a somber melancholy instead of a suicidal and oppressive atmosphere dripping with negative emotions. The influx of gothic and alternative elements is the main causation of this change in style. These influences allow the songs to be more riff oriented and less focused on the use of repetitive and minimalistic structures, the song structures lean closer to rock than doom metal and the overall tone feels profoundly gothic.
Compared to Discouraged Ones
the song writing is more varied, although most songs follow the verse-chorus-verse structure the repetitive and hypnotic passages are gone, the focus has shifted gears from minimalism to a more melodious and rock oriented sound. The doom elements are minute are best and often struggle against the denser and more powerful depressive rock elements, there’s still some elements left over from their Death/Doom
days but there is a sense that they’re dwindling, that they’re becoming obsolete. Katatonia
are at a cross roads in their sound, the middle point between the alternative and melodic doom of Discouraged Ones
and the depressive rock of Last Fair Deal Gone Down
. Compared to Discouraged Ones
, Tonight’s Decision is harder, heavier, more melodic and accessible and the song writing is more varied. The riffing is more varied, with some excellent melodic leads; they’re shifting the focus from hypnotic and minimalistic dirges to a catchier more rock oriented approach. The riffs are still depressive yet they lack the underlying substratum of emptiness and suicidality that defined Discouraged Ones
. The melodies are creative and have the unique factor of being able to compliment any emotions the listener is currently feeling, Katatonia
in my eyes play music that is universal, music that most if not everyone is able to relate to. They create music based around universal feelings, they’re able to compliment any mood and emotions, despite being tagged as a depressive rock band some of the melodies I find are surprisingly uplifting. There’s more going on in Katatonia
’s music than the typical depressive bad.
Tonight’s Decision is excellent in portraying emotions, the vocals are mournful and at times bitter, Jonas
Renkse has definitely improved as a clean singer from the days of Discouraged Ones
. He sounds more confident and forceful yet also being more forlorn, it compliments the music excellently. The guitar lines are suitably depressive and add a lot in terms of atmosphere, the guitar lines are highly melodic and the depressive leads can also be extremely catchy, being firmly implanted in the mind of the listener. Keyboards are used to add ambiance, complimenting the music when necessary adding a swirling and atmospheric layer over the depressive guitar lines. Drums and bass create a solid undercurrent to the music, adding a lot in terms of heaviness and overall density. The production is spot on, whereas previous albums favored a much rawer sound quality in order to compliment the suicidality and depressiveness of the music, Tonight’s Decision has a far clearer production in order to allow all the instruments to be heard. Whereas previous albums needed the poorer production in order to fit the equally bleak music, because Tonight’s Decision is far less bleak and desolate the production needed to be improved to suit the overall tone of the music. The atmosphere has moved entirely from forests and cemeteries to the bleak urbanized world, the production really helps to emphasize the content and emotions of the music, painting a bleak urbanized view of the world through the emotional and depressive music.
Tonight’s Decision is an excellent album, the music is highly emotional and depressive yet being comfortable in Katatonia
’s more melodic and accessible rock direction. At this point Katatonia
have immersed themselves in the middle ground between their older melodic doom sound and their depressive rock sound they have tweaked and perfected over the year, they are about to separate themselves fully from their doom days and immerse themselves entirely in the alternative and gothic direction they have become known for. Tonight’s Decision is an important transitional era for the band and a noticeable turning point in their music.