October Tide
A Thin Shell

Fredrick Norrman’s departure from Katatonia has unlocked a door that personally, I never thought we’d see open. October Tide, the revered doom/death side project once helmed by Jonas Renkse and Norrman has been reincarnated without Renkse, a new line-up has been devised, and a new album is here in all its glory. After years of denying the project would ever resurface – here we are.

Fifteen years since the landmark release Rain without End, what can one expect from a band that calls itself October Tide when only one original member remains? Well, excellent melodic doom/death. Did you expect any less? The only conflict I have, and most old fans will, is the modernization of the sound in comparison to the previous albums. What we have here is sort of run of the mill as far as this style goes but it is obvious that Norrman’s talent and ideas are behind the music and it sets this above most recent doom releases. The seven tracks within A Thin Shell are quality. There is no denying that. However, comparing this album to Rain without End and Grey Dawn is not only inevitable, but it will be its’ downfall with some.

Recruiting the talents Tobias Netzell of In Mourning on vocals, drummer Robin Bergh previously of Amaran, and Jonas Kjellgren of Scar Symmetry and Carnal Forge on bass, this revamp comes with experience. Tobias’s vocal delivery is a standout feature on this album. His deep, deathly bellows, dominate this album with confidence and power. I’ve listened to In Mourning before but not until now did I realize how powerful of a vocalist he is.

Starting things off with “The Custodian of Science” the sense of isolation and depression sets in and won’t let go until you hit eject. Dominating chord structures and soaring harmonies surround this album with trippy mid-sections (Deplorable Request) that unravel over multiple encounters. The flow of the album is pretty remarkable. Each song flows off the last one excellently and helps to hold you in that grey limbo.

“Fragile,” is my favorite track. It’s demanding chord structure reminds me of Paradise Lost at times and as it pounds forward it gives a triumphant impression. This song also seems to have more to offer in dynamics. One thing that puzzles me with this album is just how simplistic some of it is. “Scorned,” is a crushing death/doom track if there ever was one but it’s so boring. To end the record with such a great riff and just play it out for over six minutes is somewhat laggard and lifeless. Maybe I’m missing the point but I can’t shake the feeling that this song in particular could have had so much more.

Ultimately, A Thin Shell will come off sounding like a Swallow the Sun record more than anything. This isn’t quite the breathtaking return that I was hoping for, yet it is a satisfying record that I’ll be spinning for sometime. It will be exciting to see what the future holds for October Tide. Let’s hope they churn out a few more records.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shane Wolfensberger
August 30th, 2010

Comments

  1. Commented by: Biff_Tannen

    Interested in hearing this for sure, even though I know it’s doomed to fail compared to this mighty output under this moniker.

    By the way, I dig the cover…looks just like “The Fountain”


  2. Commented by: Shawn Pelata

    I’ll check it out. It’s only inevitable that it gets compared to the past, but hopefully there’s enough there to make it stand on its own…


  3. Commented by: Stiffy

    It does stand on its own. It’s actually very good. I’d like to see them toss out another album next year though. It seem’s there’s more to be done. Especially since this is basically a new band. Great doom/death for those who like the genre though. Especially if you’ve never heard of October Tide.


  4. Commented by: opy666

    I disagree with Biff…I just encountered this band and their old stuff sounds exactly like early Opeth…BORING…however, the new album is much much better…yeah it sounds a bit like Swallow the Sun, but it is different enough to be very enjoyable…will make my top 20 for sure.


  5. Commented by: Gabaghoul

    Morningrise > Orchid > Grey Dawn


  6. Commented by: eM!eL

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