So what happens in the mid 90’s when a band like Katatonia break up and then reform, in this case you get Fred and Jonas heading off to start a project called October Tide. Material was put down initially in ’95 and the duo signed to a label in ’97 and since then the Tide has been present albeit with a healthy dose of lineup changes that see even Jonas departing. I for one am glad the Katatonia split was temporary for many reasons but certainly one outcry from that was the birth some truly crushing pessimistic doom metal in the form of October Tide.
This year will see the release of their third full length studio offering “Tunnel of No Light” an assembly of some of the most crushing doom tracks of the year. From the opening anguish of ‘Of Wounds To Come’ to the ending death knell of ‘Adorning Ashes’ we are taken on a hopeless journey through some of the bleakest soundscapes of the year. The opening riffs deal punch after punch of pure pessimism. Artfully crafted amidst the slow haunt of drums and bass and the darkly intonations of Alexander Högbam. There is no one things that stands out in terms of instrument its all perfectly blended together as one. It is this as the craftsmanship that really adds the perfect bleakness to the opening tracks as well as all tracks. Example, the closing track ‘Of Wounds To Come’ has a incredibly dark ending that really just seeps inside your brain. Guitars are there then fade leaving only bass and drum as both fade out as well into the now total darkness. However, the listener isn’t even aware of this, all we are aware of is the closing or final heartbeat of this thing as the last agonal breath escapes us in the form of a single pluck and bang we are left to ponder our own existence in nothingness.
All music has some impact on our emotions why else would anyone be drawn to it. Some releases and artists create such self introspection of ourselves it becomes downright scary. October Tide has managed such a feat, in darkness we are left to examine and ponder our actions and thoughts.For me there is no real standout track, its all of them taken together that matters. Its a collection of eight parts and those parts assembled make the whole and that whole is “Tunnel of No Light”. It would be like taking one of the colors out Blake’s painting The Great Red Dragon and The Woman Clothed with Sun, it just wouldn’t be the same, the impact and emotion would deflate and float away.
This release is Swedish doom metal at its finest at its most representative maybe at its most complete. This is eight parts of soul crushing self examination in the darkest of landscapes. The execution of the music is a testament to the talent of all members. The mixing and mastering have brought forth a darkly wonderful creation that allows us as listeners to drift into the dark and in the end come back from our journey with a certain amount introspection allowing us to gain a better understanding of the world around us. This is a highlight for the year, one of many no doubt but a standout nonetheless. Well done!