April 11, 2013

October Falls - Marras - Sarastus

Guest review by Angry Metal Guy.

So, I have been admittedly slow to get on the Bandcamp wagon. Not for lack of harassment from Max—seriously dude, I get it—but mostly because I get a lot of promo and this means I don't do a lot of exploring. I'm way overloaded with music all the time and it makes it hard to keep up with anything that's not landing in my inbox. That also means I essentially receive free mp3 copies of everything under the sun. Rarely do I get physical copies, and I think that I just sort of missed out on the fact that Bandcamp did lossless files. Upon rediscovering (I think I may have been aware of this at one point), I have been frantically rushing around trying to get lossless files of cool shit I've already downloaded from Bandcamp (including Faustian Echoes from Agalloch, The Womb of Primordial Nature from October Falls [who it will be noted I like very much], and others).

Simultaneously, I wrote to Mikko from OF on Facebook and asked him where I could get a hold of the band's oldest material: the stuff that's like straight up Ulver and Tenhi love. As I'm currently vinyl impaired, I asked him where I could get high quality digital copies of their early material and he responded by creating a Bandcamp after asking about it on his Facebook page. Since I got quick results, I quickly jumped in headfirst with Sarastus (2007) and Marras (2005).

Marras is October Falls' debut record and it's a doozy. The album is pure, gorgeous and simple; consisting entirely of guitar, piano, strings and flute. That the album is influenced by Ulver's brilliant Kveldssanger should surprise no one, but it's more pure than that. While Ulver had grand ambitions of high art but were trapped in the bodies of young boys, October Falls is just riffing on the beautiful simplicity of harmonized guitars and the trickling of streams. It's the side every black metal kid when he isn't cursing God and planning church burnings—the one that looks longingly into streams and wants something simpler. The songs vary in length, but the heart-wrenching track "Marras I" is 6 minutes and 16 seconds, while the rest range between 2 minutes and 5.

Sarastus really is a 20 minute EP from 2007—the year before the mighty The Womb of Primordial Nature came out. Short and sweet, it's more of the same from Marras, but where I stand that ain't a bad thing. It's the simple beauty that keeps me coming back for it, and adding a few more gorgeous melodies and lush guitar harmonies and I have nothing to complain about. Sarastus is a little more bleak, in that it doesn't use as many varied instruments as Marras does; instead focusing mostly on guitars. Still, it's magnificent.

And for very little, one can buy these two records (and for nothing one can stream them) as well as Tuoni (2003), the "Polku" and "Usva" and "Marrasmaa" singles (though the latter comes bundled with Marras). I must say, I'm terribly pleased about all of this. And I think I've just gotten myself pretty addicted to Bandcamp. And everyone knows that there's nothing worse than a fucking convert.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

  1. I'm almost through Marras and have really enjoyed it, but this has to beat out Ghost for "least metal" metal album. Not that I care, but I will keep it around for the next time that debate rears its ugly head!

    1. Oh, it's not metal at all. It's relevant here because it's the acoustic side of a metal band, and also because it is simply good music.