October Tide

A Thin Shell

Written by: PP on 06/01/2011 14:57:34

In the world of melodic doom metal, few do it better than Jonas Renkse and Frederik Norman in Katatonia. A little over a decade ago they decided to form a side project of a slightly heavier nature, called it October Tide, and released two records to little fanfare before calling it quits in 1999. It so happens that Norman left Katatonia in early 2010 for unknown reasons, but it's clear that it influenced his decision to resurrect this long-dead outfit, just without co-founder Renkse on vocals. And what do you know, "A Thin Shell" might just be the best October Tide effort yet, largely thanks to a beautifully functioning dynamic between Norman's guitar and new vocalist Netzell's deep growl.

"A Thin Shell" consists of crushing, painstakingly slow melodic doom that reminds me of the wonderful beauty of Ahab records combined with the introspective mood of Saturnus material. But where the record is heavy and punishing, it's simultaneously melancholic and depressing, a feat created by Norman's signature saddened guitar tone, that should also remind you of Paradise Lost. It creates an element of sonic beauty, a perfectly contrasting element to Netzell's deep growl that's as much part of the soundscape as the rest of the instruments. Åkerfeldt has been an inspiration here without a doubt, because few other vocalist are credited for delivering such a monstrous wall of sound through vocals alone; an immeasurably thick, enriched wave of sound that engulfs the listener with brutal and honest melancholy. Classic melodic/melancholic doom, if you ask me.

It's this interplay between the deep growling and the almost exclusively melodic guitar playing (that's still heavy, mind you) that creates the unique selling point of October Tide. Sure, they sound like a number of bands mentioned in this review already, but they deliver their material with class, sheer quality and conviction. Because of this, and a crystal clear, sharpened production that allows each instrument (incl the vocals) just the right amount of space to function, "A Thin Shell" is a melodic doom album that should appeal to people outside the genre as well due to accessible melody surrounding the punishing heaviness all around. Highly recommended if you're interested in finding out what doom metal is all about.

8

Download: A Custodian Of Science, Blackness Devours
For the fans of: Ahab, Katatonia, Paradise Lost, Saturnus
Listen: Myspace

Release date 11.10.2010
Candlelight Records

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