October Tide

Rain Without End

Written by: TL on 18/12/2008 14:20:20

Readers in the know, about Katatonia, about doom metal and about me and my reviews, should know this too; I should not be writing this review. Truthfully I shouldn't, for two reasons, the first being that if he had the time, EW would probably be significantly more knowledgable about this kind of music, and the second one being that, in these times where us writers are stressing as fuck to get all reviews done before New Years Eve, October Tide's "Rain Without End" hasn't had nearly the number of spins in my drive that a vast and doomy ordeal of its kind would demand in exchange for an adequate insight. However, circumstances being as they are dear reader, let me promise you that I will give this record its fair chance, and this review my best shot, and then if you end up disagreeing with me, you can always claim that I'm just too ignorant about Doom to know what I'm talking about.

First though, let me at least prove that I've done my homework. October Tide is a band that was originally formed by Katatonia members Jonas Renkse (doing guitar, drums and vocals) and Fred Norrman (guitar and bass) back around 1995. Allegedly, "Rain Without End" was the last album to feature Jonas doing harsh vocal work, at least up until his appearance on the latest Ayreon album. I write 'was', because the album was in fact the band's debut and was originally released in '95, however, for reasons unknown to me, it has now been remastered and reissued by Vic Records, which is also why it's the subject of this review.

As for the music, "Rain Without End" is for once an album that delivers what its promotional material promises. "Melancholic, sorrowful and mid-paced metal, with death-vocals laid over the top". Fittingly for a band and album titled as is the case, the music mostly crawls at what I'd call a slow speed, continuously building a vast and atmospheric soundscape that truly would call images of never-ending rain or dark tides to mind. In this realm of darkness Jonas Renkse's harsh swan song reigns supreme, echoing across the ominous void, not sounding particularly angry or malevolent, but rather like the dying roar of wounded grizzly bear.

And that's what you get. For seven tracks, all but one exceeding the five minute-mark, they are all picture perfect renditions of what progressive doom would sound like, which I'm sure is exactly what you want if you're one who is even remotely interested in October Tide to begin with. So from that perspective "Rain Without End" is definetely a success, and since the record I'm listening to right now sounds fuckin' brilliant in terms of sound quality, I can only assume the re-mastering has been well worth it, although I have never heard the original, so alas I can't be sure. In any case though, remembering that my usual criteria for giving an album more than 7½ include having variety and songs that stand out from one another, it's clear that "Rain Without End" still leaves a bit to be desired here. As an atmospheric record and as a successful composition of music, it is excellent, but again, to shine with the big ones, there's still a little something missing as far as I can tell.

Download: 12 Days Of Rain,
For The Fans Of: Katatonia, Opeth
Listen: myspace.com/octobertideband

Release Date 10.11.2008
Vic Records

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