1996 was an extremely significant time in Sweden. Opeth was touring for Morningrise, Edge of Sanity just released Crimson, and Katatonia…well, they broke up. No one really knew about it because only a year later they released Brave Murder Day, but it did happen. During this time, Anders started his Diabolical Masquerade project, leaving Jonas and Fred to themselves. So, what does the pair do? Well, they’re Swedish musicians, so naturally they released a solid metal record. They started one of the most overlooked death/doom bands at the time called October Tide, with Jonas and Fred doing all the instruments and vocals and production themselves.
Since Anders isn’t involved in the project, a huge difference you will notice is the overall sound. Fred’s contribution to the writing process has altered the riffs to a more groove oriented feel, while Jonas’ input kept the melancholy intact. You could say this is what it would sound like if Fred wrote Brave Murder Day, though it should be understood that this stands apart from that record for even though it has its similarities, the differences vastly outweigh them.
The song “All Painted Cold”
is one of the better songs to use to explain. Instead of the constant, repeating 1/8 rhythms on BMD, there are more standard song structures, but also much more riffing, and catchy riffing at that. The drums also have a vast amount of variation in comparison. This is one of those classic death/doom tracks that can stand on its own due to its fairly unique style, plus there’s a slight folk influence that actually isn’t put to pretentious use! Keyboards appear fairly frequently throughout the album as well, as well as acoustic parts, in comparison to Katatonia.
This album happens to be the very last to hear Jonas’ throat-ripping screams, yet the ones you’re used to hearing are those high pitched shrieks. On this record he sticks to low, powerful growls. They’re still raspy, but much more controlled. He does some singing every once in a while, usually in a Robert Smith-esque quality. Speaking of The Cure, Jonas brought the influence forward for quite a few areas scattered around the album, most noticeably on the track “Losing Tomorrow.”
If Jonas was trying to write an early 80’s darkwave track, he succeeded, as well as making it the most depressing track on the record. The depressing feel of the record comes out sporadically instead of constantly, but still pretty often, because if it wasn’t a depressing record then Jonas or Fred wouldn’t have done their job.
If you like what you’ve read and want to purchase this record like a good fan, then you’re in luck, sir! Until now, this record has been nigh impossible to find, and even if you did you had to cough up a paycheck to attain it. However, thanks to our good pal Dan Swano who just finished remastering the album about a couple weeks ago, you will be able to order this at normal price. As well as being a must-listen for Katatonia fans, those death/doom fans that aren’t too fond of them now have a fresh opportunity to give this side-project a chance, for this stands alone from the main project as a frozen solid record for doomsters, as I’ve mentioned before. This is also one of those records that seems to get a bit better the more you listen to it, or maybe it’s just this time of the year…. Well, even though it’s not quite the epic behemoth Brave Murder Day became, it is nothing less than an interesting take on an already unique foundation, and an exceptionally enjoyable one at that. After all, there’s never anything wrong with another take on sonic depression, especially coming from these two.