October Tide

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Rain Without End

October Tide - Rain Without End ©1997 Vic Records
1. 12 Days of Rain
2. Ephemeral
3. All Painted Cold
4. Sightless
5. Losing Tomorrow
6. Blue Gallery
7. Infinite Submission

For whatever reason, Katatonia members Jonas Renske and Fredrik Norrman apparently couldn't get enough melodic doom metal in their daily diet so in 1995 they got together and made their very own record under the band name October Tide. Granted, this project was conceived while Katatonia was theoretically broken up. The material very much contains the same vibe as Katatonia would have on their next release Brave Murder Day. More interestingly, the first October Tide recording, Rain Without End, would just so happen to be the last time Jonas Renske would perform his harsh vocal style. No doubt not long after this session he woke up one morning and realized he had a very, very sore throat and thought Thom Yorke might make a better influence than Chris Barnes. Anyhow, Rain Without End was performed entirely by the duo.

Listening to this album, it's quite apparent the core ideas for the next phase of Katatonia were being fully realized already in Renske and Norrman's songwriting. The somewhat long, mid paced songs all contain that flavor and approach people associate with the duo's more famous act. At times, the music actually feels slightly upbeat ("All Painted Cold" has some pretty snappy riffs, which is unusual for the doom metal genre) and throughout the record, the songs rarely feel tired or plodding. Perhaps the main difference between October Tide and Katatonia is that Rain Without End's guitar playing doesn't have that certain riffing style that apparently belongs to Anders Nyström.

October Tide would release a pair of albums conceived during Katatonia's hiatus. Renske and Norrman ultimately put all the focus back on their main band upon its reformation and October Tide became a somewhat obscured side project. This debut actually became quite scarce, though it finally was reissued in 2008 with entirely different artwork. (Incidentally, I don't understand why record labels insist upon reissuing albums that have perfectly good covers with something entirely different. It feels like some revisionism, as if 1997's design standards were from the Stone Age.) Rain Without End is actually a real treat, acting as a great companion piece to Brave Murder Day.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2011

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Grey Dawn

October Tide - Grey Dawn ©1999 AvantGarde Music
1. Grey Dawn
2. October Insight
3. Sweetness Dies
4. Heart Of The Dead
5. Floating
6. Lost In The Dark - And Then Gone
7. Into Deep Sleep
8. Dear Sun

October Tide is actually nothing more than two Katatonia members taking a little detour back into their past. Jonas Renske and Fredrik Norrman make up October Tide and it would appear Grey Dawn is nothing more than revisiting their roots as a harsher doom metal bands. If you take out Blackheim's distinctive riffing style and allow Norman and Renske to create their own mode of melodic leads and melancholy riffs, as well as add in older Katatonia styled raspy vocals (courtesy of session vocalist Marten Hansen), you get a very morose sound that does remind one of older Katatonia quite a bit. Fans of the older style will be sure to enjoy Grey Dawn immensely. Even without the signature Blackheim style, October Tide is chock full of strong music and guitar playing. The songs have similar structure, with softer musical breaks adjunct to the heavier doom core.

Although there is a tendency for October Tide to almost be redundant of earlier Katatonia, the band does this style so well that Grey Dawn would be a logical followup for Brave Murder Day had the band not decided to explore the clean vocals approach of Discouraged Ones. Grey Dawn is a very solid album that reminds me why good doom metal is such a wonderful thing.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/2000

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