Metal in Repose: October Falls’ Kaarna
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.”
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.