Metal in Repose: October Falls’ Kaarna

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Do you ever wake up in the morning and say to yourself – I don’t really feel like listening to metal today? ME FUCKING EITHER. That being said, every once in a while I do need to set aside some time for something a little more relaxing. And so should you (yes Conan, even you). 

Provided that the music doesn’t end up sucking, I’m a huge fan of one-off albums with the Metal dialed down to 0. Opeth‘s Damnation springs to mind along with Agalloch‘s The White and other traditional-folky ventures like Ulver‘s Kveldssanger, Månegarm‘s forest sessions, and Fintroll‘s Visor om slutet. Unfortunately, these albums generally fall short of getting the attention they deserve from the metal community, likely because the focus is often placed on acoustic instruments.

Now you can add October Falls to your list of easy-listening non-metal with the release of Kaarna. Founder/writer/guitarist/frontman Mikko Lehto has this to say about this strictly acoustic departure:

“As the years have passed by and the earlier releases are slowly getting harder to find, instead of making multiple re-releases I decided to gather them as “Kaarna”, a compilation of all original acoustic pieces recorded between 2002 and 2010, including everything that was released either on cd or vinyl versions. All the sessions are uncut for this release, so individual releases are now gathered within single tracks instead of splitting them into parts, a mistake I made in original versions. There are small alterations and adjustments, but nothing was remixed. Hopefully this will be something new for those of you who only know the later, harsher October Falls material.”

Kaarna2

Kaarna

Debemur Morti Productions calls it a “quiet, sonic walk in the woods,” and I think that’s quite an appropriate portrayal of what you’ll hear here. Acoustic guitars, piano, flutes, violins and the like – which weave together with stunning fluidity – invoke visions of deep, hidden woodlands and landscapes untouched by humankind. Tastefully infrequent audio samples of cooing birds or gently howling winds help to transport the less imaginative listener. It can be moody, but  it’s never dark and always beautiful.

I decided against giving this a full review simply because this sort of thing is outside my wheelhouse when it comes to writing (i.e., not metal), but I certainly recommend it to all of you – minimal flushes here. If you need to relax, which most of you so obviously do, get this.

The album stream I’m including is only part of the Kaarna compilation, but is a good representation of the overall sound.

  • Howard Dean

    Debemur Morti Productions is the tits. Can’t wait for Blut Aus Nord Memoria Vetusta III!

    Byyyyyyyyyyyaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  • Tyree

    I remember one day I was just in the mood for 80’s movie soundtracks. It was awesome!!! The Manhunter, Lethal Weapon, and Blade Runner soundtracks were all I listened to. That some what counts as metal right?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=da17pD92uFI&index=3&list=PLuxifBcbIaMpZdWDGuMaIpxlhleTzaO4M

    • Scrimm

      Fuck yeah. I named my dog Riggs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGNIXBd-kgU

      • Tyree

        Good name choice! If I get a dog I’m going to name him By-Tor after the Rush song “By-Tor and the Snow Dog.”

        • Scrimm

          That’s perfect you should!

        • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

          ……

  • THIS IS RELAXING AS HELL.

    • IM SO FUCKING RELAXED RIGHT NOW.

      • Cock of Steele

        THIS MAKES ME WANNA HUG A BABY.

          • Howard Dean

            This made me cry a little.

          • Tyree

            Well… You don’t get much more metal than that.

          • Cock of Steele

            Brutally adorable.

        • HessianHunter

          I’M RIGHT FUCKING HERE, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?!?!?!?

          • Tyree

            Yay!!!

      • Bunk Moreland

        Shiiiiiit, this ain’t bad at all, motherfucker

  • Gobshite

    I can walk to this. Fuck it, as soon as the rain dies down I’m gonna go into the mountains behind my house and loose myself for an hour.

  • Xan

    This is amazing. I really enjoy music that I can sort of space out to. I prefer darker sounding pieces such as Lustmord who Cybernetic Organism turned me on to from the “Gazing Too Long Into the Abyss” article. This is nice for hiking music. Metal usually just makes me feel irritated when I do any kind of physical activity. One of my favorite acoustic albums: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRLhHsaloQ4

    • I’m really digging the instrumentation here but the vocals are kinda killing it for me.

      This is one of my favorite “relax and zone out while doing a task” tunes.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F5at5y87ZQ

      • Xan

        I wish the vocals weren’t present too. I love James Blackshaw. I think I might even have a copy of Litany of Echoes lying around somewhere.

      • Further Down the Metal Hole

        This sounds wicked! Will check out.

        • Further Down the Metal Hole

          And while we’re on the subject: which of his albums would you recommend the most?

          • The Cloud of Unknowing is my favorite. I think it was one of his first. From there, his music goes in different directions with additional instrumentation and collaborators (the album after this one was primarily based around piano).

          • Further Down the Metal Hole

            I’ll give it a listen, thanks Joe.

  • NefariousDude

    “SQUIRE!! Bring me my D20!”

  • Paris Hilton

    I do actually spend days not listening to metal. My major source of non-metal was SYWH before Sarge D started doing more production/recording type stuff. That blog was fucking hilarious and D usually spoke the truth. It isn’t any of my business, sure; but a 35 y/o dating a 19 y/o is a little bit off-putting in my books too.

    • Negrodamus

      Also none of my business, but really that chick is 19?

      • Paris Hilton

        Yeah dude! I guess there isn’t anything wrong with it as she is an adult, but idk it just seems fucky to me!

        • Negrodamus

          Dude is a tight writer and knows a lot about music for sure.

          As far as steroids and dating young women, I’ve never done them but it seems like a dude who is concerned with appearances enough to take ‘roids would be the type to try to and show off with a much younger lady.

      • W.

        What chick?

        • Negrodamus

          His girlfriend, I follow him on Instagram lol.

    • Cock of Steele

      If Sgt. D sincerely thinks Pete Sandoval was a bad drummer then he lost his cred from me. Which is very important cred mind you.

      • Max

        I just went back and re-read that Sgt. D post about Sandoval.

        It got me thinking: In the days before I started reading about metal on the Internet, it never would’ve occurred to me that Pete Sandoval was a bad death metal drummer by any measure. Saying that to me would’ve been like saying Lombardo was a bad thrash metal drummer.

        Now that I’ve read so much Pete criticism, I can hear the things people pinpoint: occasional irregular timing, lack of inventiveness, peculiar/cheap kit sounds, etc. Even the commenters who defend Pete nowadays tend to do so by saying that those things are part of his appeal (in contrast to all the modern quantized tech-blasters operating with the benefit of hindsight), rather than denying them.

        But regardless of the point being proved, I think such talk just spoils me rather than Sandoval’s drumming. I think sometimes the online hive mind gets a little too pedantic about things we all used to blissfully enjoy.

        • Cock of Steele

          Yes, I feel nowadays, with ALL of this new shit coming out, it;s easy to nitpick a band’s material and say they suck now. When we should be thankful there are just more awesome riffs to munch on. The kit sounds for Pete, never bothered me, production quality with MA was never a downplay in my opinion. In fact his drumming seems insanely tight at times, but I can see when people hate his constant fills. (tears fill eyes) Morbid Angel just isn’t the same without him.

    • Maybe we could do a recurring non-extreme music feature.

      • Tyree

        Dude I’d be up for that! Seriously man.

        • I play in a dipshit indie-type band. I have loads of recommendations for that realm.

          • Paris Hilton

            Indie, you say? Does your band’s lyrics consist of the problems experienced by upper-middle-class 20somethings?

          • Hahaha, maybe? I don’t care about lyrics ever. I’m just really into sound.

          • Tyree

            That’s what the band members of Joy Division said about Ian Curtis’s lyrics and he killed him self. Hopefully your singer is not as depressed as Ian Curtis. If he is you better read the lyrics. Sorry, just watched the Joy Division documentary last night. Bleak shit man!

          • Oof, that is bleak.

            …Although I love the hell out of New Order.

          • So good. So many catchy melodies. So many asinine lyrics. A perfect band.

          • Tyree

            Killer, I’m into a lot of Shoegaze, dream pop, and dark wave shit. Wow I sound like a huge hipster, Lol

          • Tommy P

            How do you feel about Fleet Foxes, Patrick Watson, and Andrew Bird? They are my holy trinity of non-metal music.

        • Max

          Opportunistic self-promotion: Watch for “Why Disco Doesn’t Suck”; my forthcoming TovH piece on electronic dance music from a metalhead’s perspective. Long, dreary, and jam-packed with aural nerdbait. Just turned in the second draft last night!

      • Paris Hilton

        I’d be down. Life is too short to enjoy just one genre of music (as rad as metal is!)

        • Cock of Steele

          This may be off topic but last night I fell asleep without turning off the Royal Thunder album playing on my ihome. I just remember waking up this morning to some really, really, really sick and groovy riffs. Like the fact that I was maybe half asleep and hearing that stuff, it was just sounding really awesome. I think we’ve all had that happen with a band before (me being Royal Thunder, Vader, and Anthrax) but my point is we should do a special article about having sleep jams like that. I’m just pitching the idea, wouldn’t know how to formulate it.

      • W.

        I listen to a fair number of movie soundtracks and some classical/jazz.

        • RuIN?

          Not so much Jazz, but I would be interested in putting together a couple of things about classical music. Composers, brief bios and a short list of things to listen to. That sort of thing.

        • mustangbomb

          Jazz would be a great genre to cover. I’ve found a lot of tie-ins between jazz and metal through listening to different stuff, too, so things wouldn’t have to deviate from metal too uncomfortably far.

        • Tommy P

          CLASSICAL CLASSICAL CLASSICAL CLASSICAL CLASSICAL CLASSICAL

      • This would be great, I’ve been putting a list together for this same idea, just didn’t know if it would be appropriate for this here particular terlet.

        • Tyree

          I’m really getting excited about this now. Guess I’ll have to start making a list too.

      • Maybe we could call it “TSA Checkpoint: No Metal Beyond This Point”

  • Further Down the Metal Hole

    I’m a sad person who needs metal every day. If it’s not metal or somehow guitar laden, it’s hard to get me interested.

  • I’m really bummed that I have to mow my parents’ lawn tonight.

  • NDNOvHell

    I fucking love acoustic guitars. Thanks for the share, it’s quite refreshing to hear this.

    Absolutely zero flushes.

  • KJM

    I’m pretty far ranging in my musical tastes so I’m no stranger to the mellow.

  • crazytaco_12

    Definitely one of my favorite musicians to relax and sink into, great fucking songwriter, more in the folk/country realm though
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eSggloAtBo

  • Shitstain Mcghee

    I’m late to the party, but one of my go to relaxing metal-ish bands is Solstafir. So imagine my excitement since their new album comes out this month! I might just stop listening to the latest from Belphegor, Diocletian, and Impetuous Ritual for forty minutes or so.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwiQYgjEvy8