October Falls
The Plague of a Coming Age

If this scribe were heading up promo for October Falls’ new The Plague of a Coming Age, all of the album’s selling points should be preceded by “With guest vocals from Amorphis’ Tomi Joutsen!” Like, ad infinitum on that one. Not only is Joutsen one of European metal’s best singers (perhaps we should extend that reach globally), he provides what amounts to the few glowing moments on a rather hum-drum and tired-sounding album. Main OF dude Mikko Lehto has at long last hit the dreaded creative wall, thus necessitating the need to pimp Joutsen to the max.

The October Falls albums that preceded The Plague of a Coming Age had a similar tone and formula to them. Lehto has basically, two or three melodic guitar lines he likes to cull from and for a good stretch, was able to contort them in a way that didn’t reek of repetitiveness. It worked on 2008’s magnificent The Womb of Primordial Nature, as well as 2010’s not-as-good-but-still-worthy A Collapse of Faith, but he’s run out of steam with Plague. Clearly, we should have detected a theme (or a darkness coming, to reference Katatonia) on A Collapse of Faith

Nevertheless, Plague differs from its predecessors by way of shorter song constructs. Not that it matters, however, for the listener is sucked into the vortex of one never-ending song. Joutsen comes to the rescue on “Boiling Heart of the North” and the title track, which not by coincidence, are the album’s strongest jams. His ethereal, gentle, yet manly roar (must be the dreads) serve as hummable detours from the morose and chilling atmospheric/epic black metal Lehto has on display.

Brazenly Finnish, yet nowhere near as climatic as recent efforts from Moonsorrow, The Plague of a Coming Age is the first stumble in the October Falls pantheon. It could be these ears have warmed a little too much to Lehto’s melodies, although it’s very possible the same could happen to the unsuspecting listener who were drawn in by the “atmospheric,” “epic,” and “Finnish” tags. That’s usually a formula for success. Not here, not this time.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by David E Gehlke
March 25th, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: gordeth

    Wow, I couldn’t disagree more. I found this to be way more interesting and moving than Lehto’s previous albums. I could see this ending up high on my year-end list.


  2. Commented by: Stiffy

    Yeah this album is great. Sorry to hear you didn’t like it.


  3. Commented by: Luke_22

    Each to their own but I’ve been enjoying this one quite a bit. Mind you this is my first extended experience with the band so cant really compare with their other work.


  4. Commented by: rathor

    this is a fine soundscape for travellers of the dawn, a companion for introspective trips. excellent really.


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