Review Summary: It’s more of the same, building on the foundations of October Falls previous records without a single misstep.
Come 2013, and October Falls minor tones and sweet surrendering atmosphere give life to this fifty minute display of folk-y metal goodness. Everything has its place and the result neither regresses on the band’s previous albums nor does it blow them out of the water. The Plague Of A Coming Age
is consistent and resolute in nature, giving life to the mix of genres being brought together in one package and in turn builds on the group’s previous efforts. Outstanding melancholic behaviour, mellowed out sections consistently shine throughout the record, balanced with the heavy sections that show a group accomplished in what they do. Where the music becomes sedate, it grows and swirls mixing well with the moderate folk idealisms of October Falls, ultimately combining with the productions’ ambient values creating a listen that’s slightly predictable but takes nothing away from the end result. It is important that some differences emerge from the band’s previous record, A Collapse Of Faith
(almost three years ago). Namely, the difference is in track length this time around, The Plague Of A Coming Age
shows a more conventional putting together and instead of using three or four epic tracks, long in proportion the band opts instead for nine tracks with a shorter, more accessible run times and for October Falls, it works well maintaining the listener throughout.
One thing that’s instantly recognisable is the semi-under produced sound of The Plague Of A Coming Age
. It’s not an unwelcome sound, adding to the overall ambience of the record providing a natural warm atmospher to the album. On the back of a completely instrumental ‘At the Edge Of An Empty Horizon’ the moods shifts into a predominantly heavy album, highlighting a touch of Ulver, Agalloch, a dash of Primordial and even brief glimpses of Opeth but the sound that’s ever present is solely October Falls. The album’s best attributes come in how no single part attacks the next over powering the music. Even the vocals are far from overbearing, sitting behind the raw-ish guitars and steady drum work. Highlights come and go, but the album is strongest in the middle. From the title track onwards to ‘The Weight Of The Fallen’ the mood of the album becomes sombre and the clean vocals styling of Mikko Lehto whose croon will occasionally vary in pitch providing the interesting lift in vocals the album needed. But, that’s not to say the album has lost its ‘metal edge’, rather the two worlds play off each other, complementing each section showing an instrumental talent rarely seen like this in the genre. The band shows awareness, knowing when to bring things down a notch and vice versa.
Overall, a change in the album’s integral song structure allows the band to be just that more accessible to the casual listener, without losing the fan base that loved the drawn out track lengths and usual doom inspired sound. The band has come a long way from their first album in 2005, even with the band showing growth, and yet the same formula has always remained. Highly atmospheric, grabbing hold of the emotive points in the band’s music gives the listener a way in, to understand and more importantly a reason to be maintained throughout the entire of the record. Despite being fifty minutes in length The Plague Of A Coming Age
is a ride, never dull and without a hiccup. That’s not to say this album is the definition of mind-blowing, stunning, perfect. Fact is it’s another solid album from a solid group. For October Falls, The Plague Of A Coming Age
builds on the group’s previous records and is nothing too far out of the ordinary and should be treated as such. For those looking for an entry point into October Falls’ music, this is an excellent place to start. For those looking for an expressive yet accessible foray into the genre, this is about as good as it gets without conforming to epic lengthier tracks. With the records’ folk-y undertones this is album full of memorable compositions and intelligently presented vocals.