October Tide
A Thin Shell


3.5
great

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
September 28th, 2010 | 35 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An undeniably enjoyable death/doom metal album that suffers most from a distinct lack of inspiration to do things outside of the genre's cliches

A Thin Shell is a defining album for October Tide not in the sense that it is the culmination of everything the band has done, but in the sense that it shows that the band is no longer a Katatonia-fueled side project of Jonas Renske and Fredrik Norrman. With the departure of Renske and the introduction of In Mourning vocalist Tobias Netzell and bassist Pierre Stam, the entity that is October Tide shifted pillars to a sound that still encompasses the melodic doom/death metal shroud placed over them, but one that completely changes the atmosphere and mood of their music. The ringing guitar melodies show heavy influences of In Mourning’s sound, and rightly so, but also take on a doom metal flair that is reminiscent of a Swedish variant to Finland’s Swallow The Sun. It’s not the most original take on the genre around, especially considering the sound of A Thin Shell basically borrows from other established industry acts, but it’s hard to fault October Tide due to their ability to still keep things enjoyable.

It’s hard to deny the focus on simple melody throughout the album, as no riff goes without a distinct melodic flavor that is key in the album’s eerie ability to hold your attention. The riffs seem to leisurely trudge around for noticeable lengths of time, yet their hypnotic qualities are completely enthralling. The second track “Deplorable Request” features over a minute and a half of dissonant ambience that surrounds a repeated riff which, for some reason, fits with the broad picture of things as far as the song as a whole is concerned. So it goes for the running time of A Thin Shell, with slow plods of melodic riffing comprising the vast majority of the instrumentation and atmosphere, complimenting the oppressive despair that may be the last vestige of Katatonia influence left in the songwriting. The overbearing simplicity and reliance on repetition may not be to some people’s liking, but the fact is that a staple of this kind of metal are such simplistic songwriting pieces.

That’s where the real crutch of A Thin Shell lies, though- in the fact that October Tide are reliant on their riffs to keep the listener entertained for long periods of time, and if these riffs come up short then the whole song is a wash. The relatively boring experience that is “The Nighttime Project” features a lead that overstays its welcome, and ends up dragging the entire experience down. The vocal department, though, is consistent and effective at ushering in the atmosphere that the instrumentation strives to convey. Netzell’s growls sound nearly identical to his work with In Mourning, something that I have no problem with. His voice simply works here, never running off-kilter in relation to the music and taking constant shifts between a low death metal growl and a raspier and higher-pitched scream that fans of In Mourning will recognize.

An album like A Thin Shell needs an effective atmosphere to have any replay value whatsoever, and I think in large part the album achieves this. It’s not an original piece of work in the least bit, but fans of such bands as Swallow The Sun, Hanging Garden, older Katatonia, and In Mourning will find this album to be to their liking. Amid a few irksome riffs and drawn-out melodies that overstay their welcome, A Thin Shell sits as an accomplished piece of work; not brilliant by any means, but definitely enjoyable. Even though its appeal may not extend very far, those who are a fan of this kind of thing will find plenty to like, and the albums decent replay value will having you coming back for more listens. The real question, though, is whether October Tide are willing to step it up and progress their sound into something that is unquestionably their own, or are they simply going to remain in the side-project stage for the remainder of their existence.



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user ratings (42)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Crysis
Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2010


16453 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really nice album. If you like any of the albums I put in the recommended section you should probably check this out.

Oh yeah the album art is awesome too.

[IMG]http://www.lebmetal.com/files/2010/09/october-tide.jpg[/IMG]

Digging: Swallowed - Lunarterial

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2010


16453 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nope not yet, it's been on my list for a while but never got around to it yet.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
September 28th 2010


16453 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah I have a tendency to use adverbs a lot, I'll get rid of those two. As for the third paragraph, I feel that I clearly state that when the riffs are boring, there is nothing left to save the song from being a bad track. Thanks for the critique though.

Bitchfork
September 28th 2010


7584 Comments


I think I'll pass because this sort of take on the genre just irks me 9 times out of 10.

GoingPlaces
September 28th 2010


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really enjoyed this album, Dividing Line is definitely the highlight track

Terrifyer
September 29th 2010


3403 Comments


good review, ive been meaning to give Rain Without End a listen so i guess ill get this as well

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2010


16453 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They're both worth listening to.

TheFantasticDangler
September 29th 2010


1168 Comments


didn't read that In Mourning's vocalist was in this band, on first listen I was flippin

also these guys are a lot worse than IM

Digging: Gates - Bloom and Breathe

Terrifyer
September 29th 2010


3403 Comments


lol

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2010


16453 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

also these guys are a lot worse than IM

These guys are also a completely different genre than IM, but I think most fans of In Mourning would find some enjoyment in this.

Raz0rGrind23
September 29th 2010


423 Comments


Interesting....Gonna look into this....

jingledeath
September 29th 2010


7104 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Rain Without End is ace but this was boring.

Whispered4tw
September 29th 2010


622 Comments


Man, that cover makes me want to buy this. Giving this a listen later on.

TheFantasticDangler
September 30th 2010


1168 Comments


These guys are also a completely different genre than IM, but I think most fans of In Mourning would
find some enjoyment in this.


Completely different? So, OT is Death/doom metal while IM is melodic/progressive death (there are also
some doom influences kickin around there)...?

Anyways, yeah, i agree the album art is sick

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2010


8371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review Crysis, I'll be looking into this for sure.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2010


16453 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks dude, haven't seen you around here much lately.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2010


8371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's because I haven't been around much lately, mainly because, well, everyday life has either been more interesting or I just haven't had enough time to hang around these parts (plus, really, there's a severe lack of good threads). I've also been on a huge strategy game binge for some reason and that's taking up some time as well.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2010


16453 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I hear you about that lack of good threads

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
October 4th 2010


8371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So, this is pretty awesome, good stuff Crysis. Looking at a 3.5/4 now.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
October 4th 2010


16453 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Glad you enjoy this, had a feeling you would.



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