October Falls – Kaarna Review
Earlier this year I wrote a “YER METAL IS OLDE!” article about the ongoing influence of Ulver‘s epic Bergtatt, a classic by any measure. But in some ways, it only introduced a ‘trope’ of sorts that has become one of my favorite parts of the underground metal scene: the harmonized acoustic folk record. And while Ulver only did it once, on Kveldssanger, October Falls—whom you certainly have heard of if you’re a long-time reader of Angry Metal Guy [or other blogs I guest/write for]—produced a number of excellent acoustic records in this vein. These included a full length by the name of Marras, two EPs entitled Sarastus and Tuoni, and a number of singles. These are all available as lossless files via October Falls‘ BandCamp website and worth purchasing, if you don’t mind spending money on a digital, lossless format.
Hopefully inspired by a conversation with me about making the acoustic material available, the project’s progenitor and creative center also appears to have reached out to his label for a re-release of this material in a physical format. From these diverse releases, a compilation reissue was born and it is entitled Kaarna. Made up of every release, it clocks in at 93 minutes and is a journey through all the acoustic material that October Falls produced between 2002 and 2010. But because of the nature of the music—the moody atmospheres, the mystical touches, the natural sounds and beautiful melancholy, Kaarna isn’t simply a compilation. It feels like a cohesive record—even at such a length—because the mood is strong and evocative. The tracks—really the singles, the LP, and the two EPs—each have their own flavor, but are united in a theme and style.
For me, this is perfect mood music. It’s the kind of thing I listen to early in the morning, when I’m drinking coffee and sitting in the morning sun. It’s amazing evening music, too. Nights by a fire or gazing out over a lake. It’s like a soundtrack for the deep woods, the troll forests, and overgrown paths. The feeling of being ancient, sacred and mystical permeates every note of Kaarna and makes it cohesive. While this is simple and minimalistic, there’s something that speaks very deeply to me here. As a fan of of the feel and the gorgeous harmonies, it’s tough for me not to just put Kaarna on repeat all day sometimes.
Kaarna is available from Debemur Morti’s website as a double digipack, but disappointingly not as vinyl. Still, if you’re a fan of this kind of material, you should absolutely give this a listen. I’m including a stream of Marras below. Just hit play, find a place to sit down, turn out the lights and let the magic sweep you away.