Album Review: October Falls — “A Fall of an Epoch”

There once was a band from Helsinki… I don’t have a limerick to tell but, now that I’ve got your attention let’s talk about Finnish black/folk band October Falls and their new release, A Fall of an Epoch.  The band’s signature sound, described as “nature-oriented black metal,” is perfectly crafted here.  This is a black metal album with folky, atmospheric interludes offering moments of peace and solitude between killer riffs and Mikko Lehto’s howling vocals.  The perfect balance between the two musical styles makes for a beautiful and provoking album.

The album opens calmly with wind, rain, and acoustic guitar before blasting into rapid drumming and tremolo picked guitar.  A Fall of an Epoch consists of five tracks with a runtime of about 48 minutes.  This concise setup lets the music surround and envelop the listener without becoming lost or stagnant.  Each track takes the listener on a journey with acoustic flashes amidst booming black metal instrumentation—creating highly emotive and captivating compositions.

My favorite piece is “Hammering of the Tide” which features multiple acoustic segments, showcasing the sides and talents of October Falls.  The acoustic segment featured in the meat of the track contains a subtle, yet effective, ominous echo of heartbeat-like drumming along with the sound of wind whirring through trees.  This track is aggressive in the best way—featuring Lehto’s coarse voice and a series of guitar riffs fiercely evoking headbanging and horn pumping. 

The album ends, coming full circle, with the same acoustic guitar melody from the introduction with some light chirping of birds and gentle waves cascading.

October Falls formed in 2001 with Lehto as its creator before later becoming a trio.  The early works from the band focus on nature-infused atmospheric acoustic music, before evolving further and further into black metal through their discography.  A Fall of an Epoch is a delightful blend of the sounds that make October Falls who they are.  I appreciate the balance of the album and the band’s commitment to their two distinct styles.  Oftentimes bands try to do too much and incorporate too many styles, while some bands do not introduce enough stylistic variety.  October Falls creates the right amount of blended sounds to tell a story and explore their craft.  I look forward to more releases from this talented group.  I am excited to see where their future albums take them and what new soundscapes they create.

– Angela

A Fall of an Epoch is available now on Purity Through Fire.  For more information on October Falls, visit their Facebook Page.

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