October Tide, when they took their first steps at the end of the last century, attracted a certain attention on them being in fact a sort of death doom rib of the well known Katatonia, thanks to the presence in the lineup of Fredrik Norrman and Jonas Renkse. However, the goodness of works such as Rain Without End, released immediately after Brave Murder Day, even if its genesis dates back to a few years before, and Grey Dawn, which came immediately after the couple of masterpieces Discouraged Ones and Tonigth’s Decision, widely justified the attention given by fans and professionals. After several years of oblivion, Fredrik Norrman, after his exit from Katatonia, decided to give a new impulse to the band, bringing it back to the headlines with two works that saw the light at the beginning of this decade, A Thin Shell and the excellent Tunnel Of No Light. This Winged Waltz, then, was expected as a sort of watershed able to establish what was the current status of October Tide, but the answer to this question I think should be postponed to the next opportunity: the band, in fact, immediately shoots its best cartridge, Swarm, an involving song with a quality that not everyone is allowed to reach, but then, despite the presence of a series of formally impeccable songs with remarkable ideas, the disc adapts to a trend that, if it doesn’t disappoint, doesn’t even recreate the pathos reached with the opener. What leaves perplexing, in October Tide, is that only sometimes they succeed in transmitting the emotions that who listens to this genre expects, even more when to be involved is, as in this case, a musician like Norrman, objectively of higher than average stature and with a so important history behind. Having said that, to affirm that Winged Waltz is not a good record would be almost intellectually dishonest, because it’s rare to hear music so well performed and produced, but here the dramatic tension is too intermittent, compressed between a mostly rhythmic and sometimes relatively catchy (A Question Ignite) and some clear guitar opening whose melodic afflatus is not then exploited as it could be. Alexander Högbom on vocals confirms the good impressions aroused in Tunnel Of No Light, Fredrik Norrman is a fine guitarist, well assisted by Emil Alstermark, his brother Mattias on bass and Jocke Wallgren on drums, but the fact remains that, in addition to the aforementioned Swarm and the “katatonian” Lost In Rapture, October Tide are not able to instill the emotional suggestions with the continuity that would be reasonable to expect. But maybe it’s me who is too demanding towards a musician like Norrman, to whom I can only be grateful for having been part of some records that have made history; probably those who will put themselves towards Winged Waltz with different expectations could remain, instead, extremely satisfied.

2016 – Agonia Records