October Falls – Kaarna (Debemur Morti Productions)

Tuesday, 24th June 2014
Rating: 7/10

Long-standing Finns, October Falls have been releasing music for over 13 years now.  Starting out in the folk/ambient direction and evolving into more Opeth and Katatonia-influened dark/black metal without losing their folk edge, Kaarna may come across as an odd collection.  Fully embracing their folk side, Kaarna is a double album that consists entirely of the band’s acoustic pieces.  This was done partly due to the rarity of some of the tracks, so the October Falls die-hards probably understand the value of having these all collected in one convenient place.

Do not approach Kaarna expecting anything other than mellow, atmospheric and nature-loving pieces.  In the technical sense, there’s not one drop of metal that exists here.  From the lush acoustic guitars, to the occasional nature sample (eg: owl), there’s not a rasp or electric guitar to be found.  With these perceptions in mind, this is more of an album for taking a long, quiet walk through the woods and reflecting on your life, than an album that you sit with in the car during rush hour, screaming at the traffic in front of you.  Of the six songs, three of them are shorter, between 3-5 minutes long.  The others last anywhere from 20 to 37 minutes, and were previously broken up in to segments, making these completely uncut versions.  The six songs do convey a sense of beauty but it’s truly hard to put the music to words other than the broad neofolk category.  But fans of Ulver or Empyrium will undoubtedly enjoy this collection.

Rating an album like this can be difficult.  An obvious must-have for fans of the band, it’s clearly not going to try to convert newcomers with its completely acoustic and meditative approach.  If you are looking for something to enjoy out next to a relaxed campfire, Kaarna is an easy sell, but if this is going to be your first exposure to October Falls, you may want to consider one of their other albums.

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