October Falls

A Collapse Of Faith

Written by: EW on 01/10/2010 10:17:35

More organically sumptuous black metal now in the form of Finland's mysterious act October Falls who are another looking to cap off a great couple of years in this field of BM keen on espousing the genre's darkness without the theatre or Satanism. On third album "A Collapse Of Faith" previous exhortations into the worlds of folk-infused ambient spirituality and a Katatonia/Opeth-like metal tendency have been mixed brilliantly into a resulting album that manages to hint at some of my personal favourite acts in Drudkh, Wolves in the Throne Room, Agalloch, Ulver and the aforementioned Swedes yet manages to not sound quite like any of them.

I don't know just what has caused a number of bands to refrain from the traditional (read: boring and clichéd) topics of BM in the recent few years but the natural, earthy, honest and majestic feel of bands like October Falls appeal to me very much and with good reason. "A Collapse Of Faith" comprises just three songs in a sequential naming order, with "A Collapse Of Faith I" and "A Collapse Of Faith II" riding in at the best parts of 19 and 18 minutes each and a good reason for why the album has earned the adjectives above. The length of these two songs, reminiscent of Opeth's tendencies, ensures the songs never feel rushed. In these vast expanses of time each song is built upon a layer of earthly warmth from the uncomplicated pronounced production to the liberal usage of the sounds of running water and crackling fire, making me feel like I have been sat out in the darkness of some woodland rather than the urban decay of north London. After making it through this short passage the opener bursts into life with some scintillating lead guitar work that reappears frequently throughout the song, marking October Fall's eye for noting how Mikael Akerfeldt remains one of the few men in metal to make a guitar truly weep. Besides this feature which alone marks the song as the pick of the album, the song has no shame in floating effortlessly between moments of acoustic plucked guitar and atmospheric reflection before their heavier moments, probably more 'dark metal' given the relative lack of treble in their guitar tone, work comfortably in conjunction with the hoarse vocals of M. Lehto to produce some finely transcendental periods of easily enjoyable black metal.

The unbroken lead-off from tracks 1 to 2 is reflective of the similar style in which this song operates as the top-notch lead guitar work is replaced by a few hints of Bathory at their epic finest. I would say that a greater differential between these two tracks would have benefitted the album more as the feel is more of a 37-minute song than two individual pieces. Track three has OF showing less initial interest in the earthy ambience at the heart of the opening track, but atmosphere is still aplenty as the 5-minute concluding song shows off further influences from the songwriting class of Opeth and a high level of panache as the album ends not with a whimper but the cry of mother nature, beckoning to man through the restrained beauty of October Falls' music.

What "A Collapse Of Faith" lacks in immediacy is made up in the delicate and thoughtful construction of the three songs here as you are guaranteed to be hearing the songs in different ways for any number of spins as I have. It might not quite be there in matching some of the works of other 'organic' bands in their field but as if I needed any more evidence, this sure as hell kicks lumps out of the po-faced Satanism the vast majority foul the name of the black metal with. Attention should really start turning in this direction...

8

Download: A Collapse Of Faith I
For the fans of: Agalloch, Drudkh, Ulver, Opeth

Release date 21.05.2010
Debemur Morti Records

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