The underground death/doom scene was beginning to reach out to more and more people come the end of the 90’s. Novembre’s Classica, My Dying Bride’s The Light at the End of the World, Esoteric’s Metamorphogenesis, and even Lake Of Tears’ Forever Autumn are considered at least potential landmarks not only for the respected bands but the genre they attribute. So what does this have to do with October Tide? Nothing more than a mere remark towards those ignored gems of music that transcend the more popular counterparts. It seems only digging into the underground is not fulfilling enough to encounter one of those pieces of music that truly identifies you, no, you must dig deeper.
When you listen to Rain Without End, you can make connections to older Katatonia, which is understandable, but with Grey Dawn they have branched out into their own niche. The songwriting has become cohesively awkward, not only within the songs but the flow of the album as well. To define cohesively awkward is like having the mindset of a depressed Shudder To Think and a sound relative to older Opeth, meaning you will have things jump around on you and the sound is chaotically unsettling, but rather than sounding haphazard there is certain ebb and flow guiding through an insane asylum who’s only resident is you.
The other recognizable difference from the first album is the change in vocalists. Since Jonas temporarily lost the ability to perform harsh vocals, they recruited Marten Hanssen, of the now deceased A Canorous Quintet. His technique is significantly weaker than what you’re used to, however it fortunately doesn’t cause too much of an issue. It is most noticeable during the slower sections which simply would sound better with a different vocalist, but since this record is overall more fast-paced than Rain Without End, he does his job. The lyrics seem to deal with nightmare hallucinations and dense, bleak atmospheres, playing through as if this was a soundtrack to a very, very bad sequence of events ultimately concluding with a morbid suicide.
With the lyrics eluding to these topics, the music’s interpretation gives brand new allusions of this darkness with ranges of numb tones (see Floating) to mid-paced, repetitive riffs illustrating a very dizzy, slow motion suffocation (Lost In The Dark). The guitars play very strange off each other, whether they almost follow each other or play off a sort of dissonance created in the atmosphere resulting in a dark, haunted tranquility. When they follow each other, one guitar introduces its part and soon after the other plays the same thing creating a very rough texture that will sound strange at first, especially during the gorgeous acoustic epilogue Dear Sun.
If relating to Into Deep Sleep was any indication of something, then this can easily become special to any of the few, especially since it’s without question the best track the band has to offer. It is quite unfortunate, however, that neither of October Tide’s releases sold almost anything. They were so poorly promoted, forcing the band into cult status, which has in turn exceptionally inflated the prices of both records. Thankfully, both have been remastered by metal’s own sleepless, gigglicious hobbit Dan Swano. If you look at this release chronologically, you just might understand why 2001’s Last Fair Deal Gone Down release by Katatonia was so densely dismal. Everything’s relative kids, and with these ashes and embers rising with tides to entomb one more lost soul, it does seem it is better to burn out than to fade away.
The Light At The End Of The World is a landmark? Then I really don't want to check out MDB. Great review, I haven't ehard this but want to. As for Dan Swano, he needs to stop mingling with shitty bands. It's ruining his cred and my respect for the guy, although I hardly listen to EOS in geenral. JAWSOME!!!!!