October Tide – Of Splendor Below
October Tide, a band often associated with Katatonia, from their slow down-tempo depressive melodic doomy sounds, to their catchy chorus lines. October Tide, also a band who has developed into their own brand of melodic death doom.
Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, October Tide has seen many incarnations. Formed in 1994 as a side project by Katatonia’s Jonas Renske and Fredrik Norrman, their debut album Rain Without End was released in 1997 to rave reviews, giving off a depressive, if not rainy atmosphere. The following two efforts; Grey Dawn and A Thin Shell would follow this format, stamping their mark as one of the genre’s best.
I admit that I fell off the wagon with October Tide since, and their next few releases fell under my radar-I will have to catch up, but after hearing “Of Splendor Below”, I can say that I am pleased with their latest direction.
Vocalist Alexander Högbom is a name that should sound familiar if you’re into the Swedish death metal scene. Vocalist of Demonical, he brings in a fresh style not seen in many melodic death/doom bands. His growls are deep, haunting, and hits you right in the plexus, contrasting wonderfully with the dual guitars of the equally-infamous Norrman brothers.
Within the ever-growing genre of melodic death/doom, there are about three standards; down-tempo guitars, songs with slow breaks, and sadness. You won’t find too much sadness within October Tide’s catalog nowadays, what began as a rain-soaked despair has evolved into desolate and terrifying landscapes. Of Splendor Below shows how much October Tide has evolved from their 1994 selves, coming out of their own…pardon…thin shell and becoming one of the genre’s best.
The album begins with a track titled “I, The Polluter.” from the beginning, October Tide’s death metal background stands out, groovy riffs, sinister vocals that give off the vibe that you’re in an underground tunnel, and you’re reaching your doom.
Naturally, as the band is called October Tide, the next track would be an ode to their name. “We Died in October” follows the gloomy despair driven theme of the album, a desolate, autumn chill to the auditory system, following you as you walk through the graveyard, wet dirt under your boots, fog around you. But it’s comforting as well, like a cold embrace.
“Stars Starve Me” is an absolute stand out, the opening riff a reminder of A Thin Shell, or maybe a leftover track from A Tunnel Of No Light, which is an A+ in my book, possibly my favorite of the album. It features everything that I love about October Tide, sadness amidst the heavy grooves.
The following track, “Our Famine” was chosen as the album’s lead single, and it was easy to see why. It’s catchy, featuring their signature sound, a blend of death meets doom, slow and eerie and dark, with soaring melodies akin to the old Swedish death metal sound of the 90’s.
While Of Splendor Below came out in May-memories of being awoken at 6am during Maryland Deathfest by my friend shouting “Look! New October Tide!”-this album takes the autumn chill, October vibes in its palm and pours its essence all over. It’s the time of the season, the time of the year for doom, and this album certainly does not disappoint!
This album takes the autumn chill, October vibes in its palm and pours its essence all over. It’s the time of the season, the time of the year for doom, and this album certainly does not disappoint!
1. I, the Polluter
2. We Died in October
3. Ögonblick av nåd
4. Stars Starve Me
5. Our Famine
6. Guide My Pulse
8. Envy the Moon