October Tide – Tunnel Of No Light

The history of October Tide is inextricably linked with that of the much better known Katatonia: in fact, Fredrik Norrman and Jonas Renkse were for more than a decade faithful bandmates of Anders Nystrom in what was undoubtedly one of the most influential bands in the Scandinavian metal scene. In the mid-1990s the two formed October Tide, thus providing a kind of continuity to the death doom of Dance Of December Souls (a historic album that featured Renkse in the line-up), which remained the only example of the genre in Katatonia’s discography. Thus saw the light, in 1997 Rain Without End and, two years later, Grey Dawn, excellent records that were not followed up presumably to concentrate all energies on the main band. The exit from Katatonia in 2010 prompted Norrman to revive his old project by surrounding himself with new musicians with whom the discreet A Thin Shell was recorded. Coming to the present, this new Tunnel Of No Light proves to be of higher stature than its predecessor: probably, in addition to Fredrik’s better compositional approach toward a sound abandoned for quite some time, the grafts of new vocalist Alexander Högbom and his brother Mattias (with whom he shared much of his career in the past decade) on bass have also had their weight. This latest work offers melancholic but harsh sounds and, not too surprisingly, the best things are heard in the very tracks where no “katatonian” influences surface; the opener Of Wounds To Come is the best proof of Norrman’s newfound inspiration, but it is the album as a whole that is appreciated by showing no particular sags (except, partially, Caught In Silence). October Tide‘s death doom eschews predictable and excessively decadent solutions, for example renouncing the use of keyboards, a choice that makes the overall atmosphere even darker; also noteworthy is the performance behind the microphone of Högbom, capable of switching from a deep growl to a rather expressive scream often within the same verse. Tunnel Of No Light brings October Tide back very close to the levels of the work released at the end of the last century, making their definitive return to the scene beyond welcome. 

2013 – Pulverised Records