October Tide - A Thin Shell Review
by Matt Hensch
It seems that October Tide's awakening was mostly overshadowed by other reunions or new albums from long-defunct bands around the time "A Thin Shell" was dropped from Fredrick Norrman's cannon of melancholic sadness. Prior to this point, Norrman had crafted a short-lived legacy which barred some of doom/death metal's finest offerings, especially the essential "Rain Without End," a classic from point A to point B. "A Thin Shell" nevertheless carries the emotional burden as if October Tide never went to sleep in the first place, but this time featuring a new lineup recruited after Norrman's departure from Katatonia. The seven-sonnet masquerade is deep, riveting, and just as heavy and gloomy as October Tide's namesake.
Taking the massive amount of time between "A Thin Shell" and the last October Tide offering into consideration, it seems that few things have changed. The band still marches on with puncturing gaps of doom-influenced death metal cooked with clean guitars and catchy melodies used for that "saddening" feel. The songs are pretty formulaic, but I really can't complain with the provided materials. Norrman's guitar playing is pristine and attractive, his riffs crunchy yet forlorn and catchy in execution. The other members meet Norrman's chemistry with an equal amount of presence, especially the deep, unhallowed growls of In Mourning vocalist Tobias Netzell.
Not a whole lot separates the seven songs, but October Tide successfully pulls off their dark landscape regardless. "A Custodian of Science" begins October Tide's dive into depression with slow-roasted riffs spread over a melodic lead and Netzell's ground-shattering voice; it's steady doom/death metal just the way you like it. "Deplorable Request" is easily one of the best songs this band has ever written, its beefy chorus and electric groove shining under a darkened theme of pain from the past, another powerful slice. "The Nighttime Project" substitutes the rupturing might for a strange acoustic number which feels drippy and oddly mechanical. The other four tracks are a bit lacking compared to the monstrous tunes which bring light to this opus, but I'm still void of negative things to say overall.
You could consider "A Thin Shell" a standard example of doom/death metal. After all, it kind of is. Nevertheless, October Tide has made a decent return after years in a slumberous state, a feat that hardly occurs. The group's genetics are intact, yet the overall sound is thunderous and gloomy, and October Tide has defeated the odds after a decade of inactivity. Take "A Thin Shell" for what it is and you'll have a grand time with it.
October Tide - A Thin Shell
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