October Falls – The Plague of a Coming Age (Debemur Morti Productions)

Wednesday, 8th May 2013
Rating: 9/10

Ah, ambient metal. How great of a subgenre you are. One such purveyor of this style, October Falls, is a band who has gotten better with every release. Beginning as a mainly acoustic folk act, they’ve morphed into a biting ambient metal band with a lot of doom and progressive elements.

Their latest, The Plague of a Coming Age, may be Mikko Lehto’s finest work yet (this is a solo project). “Bloodlines” gets the album off to a flyer, with an infectious riff that interweaves with the melodies so seamlessly that it’s almost unfathomable. “The Verge of Oblivion” takes a more methodical approach to the proceedings to start with some especially scintillating clean portions, and finishes with a flurry.

The title track contains some of the best drum work on the disc, accompanied by clean passages that will tear your heart out. The softly-sung clean vocals also are a huge highlight that makes this song easily one of the best October Falls have ever produced. The acoustic/piano combination in “Boiling Heart of the North” traverses down another path entirely, and does so with a rare grace that is sadly missing in many bands of this ilk.

The finest element of The Plague of a Coming Age is the intricacy of the songwriting. Every song has its own identity, yet there’s a cohesiveness that brings them all together into a really impressive package. There’s a real method to Lehto’s madness, and the resultant is undeniably potent. This is genius, plain and simple.

October Falls latest is indeed a masterpiece that anybody with a semblance of taste should be able to enjoy. Loaded with beauty, power and a knack for perfectly written songs, this is a record that should stand up as a landmark release for not only October Falls, but the style as a whole.

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