October Tide is awake again.
Formed in 1994 in Sweden, the band released two albums and then slept until 2009. In 2023, Fredrik Norrman (guitar, Uncanny, ex-Katatonia), Mattias Norrman (guitar, Kryptan, ex-Uncanny, ex-Katatonia, ex-Dellamorte), Alexander Högbom (vocals, Kryptan, ex-Centinex, ex-Demonical), Johan Jönsegård (bass) and Jonas Sköld (drums) announce the release of The Cancer Pledge, their seventh album, on Agonia Records.
The album opens with Peaceful, Quiet, Safe, a composition that immediately lifts our spirits into this ocean of melancholy, where massive vocal parts appear from time to time. Relatively Old School aggressive patterns borrowed from Death Metal prevail, while the oppressive heaviness of Doom reigns, as on Tapestry of our End, which lets the leads offer heady tones before building in waves. There’s also a more plaintive passage before the soothing break, before returning to a level of dissonant oppression to lead us into Unprecedented Aggression and its ominous introduction. Intense vocal interventions gradually sink us into darkness, while riffs fly by our side, accompanying us in our fall, until Blodfattig, which presents a slightly more energetic and sometimes even surprising approach. Notice the catchy accelerations contrasting with the soaring parts, before being mesmerized by the harmonics of The Cancer Pledge, the eponymous track, which lends its haunting coldness to slow riffs and terrifying screams. It’s a relatively short track, but it’s still fascinating, particularly in its final moments, which carry us away to I Know Why I’m Cold, whose more accessible approach turns into a true storm thanks to a ferocious double kick and hypnotic leads. Season of Arson follows, bringing its own dissonant harmonics to bear on a solid basis from which vocal parts emerge, including that scream of pain before the final wave that pushes us all the way to Breathe the Water, the final song, which slows things down even further and sinks us headfirst into this ocean of grueling sadness until the very last moment.
The magic and coldness of October Tide is back in full force with The Cancer Pledge. The album follows a Doom/Death basis with haunting melodies that the band cultivate with an impressive naturalness.