Many things have change since I was introduced to Katatonia through Brave Murder Day. One thingis for sure, these guys know how to write good music. Even though there are no doomy guitars and blackish vocals they still create amazing atmospheres through simple arrangements of well written atmospheric rock songs. The album starts with “Disspossesion” which has a very catchy guitar melody and continues into more heavier passages with “Chrome”. “We Must Bury You” is the most experimental on the album as it features various electronic elements while on the other hand “Teargas” is the most radio friendly and the album’s hit. My favorite song though would have to be “Tonight’s Music” as it features some amazingly emotional parts in it. The band has experimented a loton this album which strongly shows on songs like “Clean Today” and “Passing Bird”, not your usual rock songs. Nonetheless, Last Fair Deal.. is a brilliant album, highly recommended to all fans of good music.
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I first heard of this band on a compilation CD included with BW&BK magazine. The track entitled “Chrome” is a melodic and groove laden tune that has vocals that give you a Pink Floyd-like surealism. The track “We Must Bury You” evokes a vocal like sound that is highly reminiscent of the Foo Fighters. “Clean Today” puts me in the mind of a Nirvana meets Collective Soul. The band’s musicality is amazing as they can go from raunchy hard core riffs to mellow string bending. The guitar work is not exceptional but it is tasteful and fitting to every song. Clearly the musicians do not try to outplay one another but rather are happy as a cohesive unit. This is a great album to start with this band if you’re new to Katatonia.
I’m not much of a reviewer so i’ll keep it simple. This is by far one of my favorite albums. It has just the right mix of musical elements. It’s not has heavy as later efforts however the song writing on this album is by far the best. Highlights for me on the album are “We Must Bury You” which feels a little out of place on this album and “Sweet Nurse”. Buy It.
It is highly likely that the title for this album may have been inspired by a song of blues god Robert Johnson who provided endless inspiration to early rock icons, including Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Page, and Eric Clapton. Though musically Last Fair Deal Gone Down bears little to no resemblance to Johnson, the Katatonia guys have always been interested in blues, particularly during their stoner rock period. A prime example of the genre, Last Fair Deal Gone Down not only marks the breakthrough of Katatonia, but it is also arguably their most important release post-Brave Murder Day. Blending the band’s melancholic roots with their new-found interest in modern darkness, the album is also the first disc the band produced by themselves.
Upon its release, Last Fair Deal Gone Down was Katatonia’s thickest and most layered work to date. It would be safe to say this is the album where Katatonia found their true self. Vocalist Jonas Renkse provides his finest vocal performance, delivering the depressing lyrics convincingly and making the listener believe. Guitarist Nystrom opts for a wider scope of songwriting, unafraid to delve into all kinds of genres, from rock to pop to progressive. Gone are the band’s earlier doom metal leanings; this disc sees the band turning their face to other inspirations, including the Cure, Tool, and even Porcupine Tree. The album was originally intended for a Steven Wilson signature production; however, Renkse and Nystrom later decided to handle the work on their own with stunning results. That said, there are still some subtle Porcupine Tree-like moments on the album, such as “Chrome” and the epic “The Future of Speech”, both featuring processed vocals alternating between Renkse’s more direct and clean delivery. The songs are filled with airy Mellotron sounds floating above the central instruments, most of which are a combination of delicate acoustic guitars, prominent bass, and contrasts between slow and heavy choruses.
From a melody point of view, again Last Fair Deal Gone Down boasts excellent harmonies, both produced through Nystrom and Norrman’s guitar work and Renkse’s awe-inspiring harmonies. This is always carefully supplemented by a rhythm-conscious drum and bass hybrid. Never before was the bass employed as such a main instrument in Katatonia songs; “We Must Bury You” and “Clean Today” are defined by such bass and drum contribution that help thicken the moody soundscape. The vocals on “Clean Today” are particularly striking, brimming with confidence, whilst the echoic dual guitar harmonies constantly push the piece in unexpected directions.
The diverse nature of the album is most effective during the minor hit “Teargas”, a perfect representative of the new Katatonia sound, complete with varied vocal styles (again some Porcupine Tree vibe here), a cool acoustic build-up, terrific drum fills, excellent harmonies, and engaging waves of guitar sounds. It seems like a dangerous experiment, but Katatonia makes it work. On the more straightforward yet catchier front, “I Transpire” is basically Katatonia-style pop music, accentuated by quiet verse and really heavy chorus contrasts, with the vocals being amazing once again. On the effect-laden “Sweet Nurse”, however, distinctive traces of the Cure can be heard with a memorable, easy-to-follow melodic pattern.
The first song “Dispossession” is actually the embodiment of all things Katatonia, blending their acoustics with ever-present drum beats, shimmering Mellotron effects, and a heavy guitar runout. The last track, on the other hand, “Don’t Tell a Soul”, not only closes the album on a depressing note, but it also signals similarities to Katatonia’s earlier, bleak material, highlighting Renkse’s lyrical standouts: (“When you have no one, no one can hurt you”). Renkse sounds a lot like Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt here, which should be no surprise considering Akerfeldt produced his vocals on the previous two albums. It’s a grey song with Nystrom’s melodies peeking through foggy guitar themes.
The reissue version of the album contains three bonus tracks, two of which were released as a single before the full album came out. Of these two, “Sulfur” ranks among the most powerful statements Katatonia have made, with mournful vocals, doubled acoustic guitars, and a slightly Scandinavian folk feel that would normally be attributed to bands like Opeth and Ulver. “March 4″, the other track on the single, isn’t quite in the same league, but would have made a better cut on the initial pressing than the somewhat mediocre “Passing Bird” whose lyrics fall rather short given Renkse’s talents.
This is a digipack release with cardboard sleeve with fantastic artwork. As a matter of fact, Travis Smith, who is among the most popular cover artists in metal, has said more than once that this is his favourite work (along with Terria). Essential to all fans who are curious about the current Katatonia sound.
This is one of those albums that has always been at the top of my list since it came out two or three years ago. Katatonia appeals to fans of Opeth, though I find them totally different. They’re both really good in the melody department, but Katatonia is quite a bit simpler, and doesn’t lean toward extreme metal like Opeth does.Katatonia’s album previous to this, Tonight’s Decision (another great one), was more stripped down. It’s sound was heavy, and you can tell they were using simple power chords for the most part. Here, though, the sound is big and airy. If you didn’t know they were a metal band, you might not pick up that it’s a metal album. Don’t get me wrong, it is still doomy and heavy, but again, in a kind of weird, airy way. The heaviness is most evident in the lyrics and the overall mood of the album. Goes well with Amorphis, Anathema, Tool, and Opeth’s Damnation album. If this “heavy in mood” music appeals to you, I recommend you check out Dead Can Dance’s “Spleen and Ideal” and “Within the Realm of a Dying Sun,” along with the first couple Cocteau Twins albums.