Fredrik Norrman left Katatonia a few years ago, but decided to soldier on in the revived death/doom metal band October Tide. This is a side project that focuses more on the softer side of things, often utilizing a mix of clean guitars and electronics. This is quite a musically minimalistic record that goes all in on memorable vocal lines and melancholy.
The album has a strong Katatonia vibe, especially when it comes to vocal lines. Tobias Netzell puts down a surprisingly excellent performance that complements the melancholic musical landscapes very well. It’s not surprising in terms of his technical skills, but I’ve never heard him sing clean vocals as a lead singer since he usually focuses on growling in In Mourning.
It’s easy to criticize this album for lacking variation in tempo, as most of the songs are midpaced, slow and soft. However, the individual tracks stand very strong on their own. There are memorable vocal lines with a nice amount of emotional impact in every song on the tracklist; my highlights are probably “Oneiros” and “Empty Signs”.
This is a derivative and inoffensive record, but I’m still captivated by the songwriting, melancholy and excellent vocal performance. A 2016 highlight.