October Tide are back with their seventh album, with the same line-up since 2016 with founding guitarist Fredrik Norrman (ex-Katatonia, ex-Trees Of Eternity, Thenighttimeproject), second guitarist Mattias Norrman (ex-Katatonia), vocalist Alexander Högbom (ex-Demonical), bassist Johan Jönsegård (Letters From The Colony) and drummer Jonas Sköld (Letters From The Colony /Thenighttimeproject). They combine melodic death with commercial doom to create music which at times feels very mainstream and modern, at others very dated, and also at times somewhat confusing in the way they switch from one style to another in a manner which should never make much sense but somehow does. There are loads of layers within, and there are times when one realises there is an additional guitar lead adding an additional sense of melancholy within. In fact, it is pretty much impossible to work out exactly how many guitar tracks there are on each song – I think there are often at least six, but there could well be many more, which means the sound is very deep, rich and produced, although it also means the edge and rawness and missing.

Since their very early days I have always enjoyed Katatonia, and originally October Tide was formed by Fredrik Norrman and Jonas Renske when they were still members of that band, but October Tide have moved in very different directions since then although the melancholy and dread is still there. This is a surprisingly accessible album, which is less extreme than one might expect, as the melodic death is often kept more as an influence as opposed to an overt presence. I would have preferred to have had more light and shade, and there are times when the atmosphere and arrangements are quite overbearing in the way that this has been produced within an inch of its life. There is little in the way of vitality and edge, but for all that it is still an interesting release with quite a brooding presence.

Rating: 7/10