October Falls – A Collapse of Faith Review

October Falls // A Collapse of Faith
Rating: 3.0/5.0 —Dark, bleak and beautiful
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Websites: … huh, son of a bitch… I got nothin’! (That’s a first..)
Release Dates: EU: 24.05.2010

Depressed Finns are really no surprise in metal these days. It seems like Finns are a pretty morose bunch in general. A country famous for bands like Poisonblack, H.I.M., Sentenced, Insomnium, Black Sun Aeon and Swallow the Sun, it shouldn’t be terribly surprising that some pretty bleak and depressing stuff comes out of Finland. And let me be clear, that’s not even naming huge groups of bands that I’m sure others could probably come up with. But October Falls isn’t your standard “depressed metal” band from Finland. There are no silly ESL lyrics about being buried in a plastic bag or any of that jazz. Instead, October Falls is a “depressive” black metal band with folk sensibilities.

A Collapse of Faith is one 40 minute track, which quite frankly doesn’t lend itself to an easy review. It’s difficult to sit down and describe the entire album, when its basically a series of different movements of one track. You try reviewing a symphony some time and see how well it goes. However, this one track is best illustrated by the cover of the album, a little to your left, yup there you go! – and the first minute or so: the sound of a campfire and birds in the woods gently laying under an acoustic guitar, which sets the atmosphere for the album without being cheesy or ridiculous. At about 2 minutes, the real theme for the album comes in on the guitar and for the most part you’re in “metal” territory after that. What stood out for me about this record was that the melody was gorgeous and strong, lending itself towards the melodies of Vintersorg or Borknagar (early), it had a melancholy to it that is not really present in those earlier folk and black metal records. But while I would probably still call this “black metal”, this is not Darkthrone black metal, but Petrychor black metal or maybe something more akin to Ulver’s epic and classic album Bergtatt.

Therefore, what you’re listening for here is not the technicality of the music or the sound of evil, but something that you can pop into your headphones and lay on your bed and listen to. Maybe listen to it in a sundown as you wander through the forest or (if you’re from a heavily populated area) imagine that you’re doing that. And while I say that this record is depressive (certainly the name A Collapse of Faith implies that), it is certainly not soul sucking and hard to listen to. But instead peaceful, while bleak and dreary.

Fundamentally this a record you listen to for the feel. And it has that feel, if you’re into it. It’s not too clean, it’s not too rough and certainly this 40 minutes of music doesn’t have a whiff of over-production or corporate bullshit going on. For me it feels similar to the older October Falls stuff I’ve heard, as well as bearing a strong similarity to Moonsorrow’s (excellent) Hävitetty or to early Katatonia or Opeth to some extent as well. But unlike the aforementioned Moonsorrow, I wasn’t left exactly floored by this record. While it’s good, there’s a certain x factor that seems to be missing. Sure, the record is well-composed and despite being 40 minutes long, its thematic repetition is interesting to listen to, but A Collapse of Faith has yet to really grip me and I’m not sure that it ever will.

Still, if you’re a fan of the band you should (and probably already have) check this out. And if you’re a fan of epic blackened folk metal (or whatever the fuck we would call this record), then you should definitely give A Collapse of Faith a go. This one will definitely go over big with the fans of the new wave of atmospheric black metal… You decide whether or not that’s good.

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