Overview: After a slumber of eleven years, the side-project of Katatonia’s Jonas Renske and Fredrik Norrman came to life with new-found gloom and misery. Now without his former colleague to back up the moroseness and despondency for which the band is known for, Norrman and his new line-up have decided to push the envelope with A Thin Shell, resting not on the laurels of old.
Featuring seven tracks of atmospheric mid-paced Death/Doom Metal, the album takes the main ingredients of October Tide to new heights without fleeting away to a whole new soundscape, which is something unusual in most bands within the extreme Metal ilk. There’s a sense of integrity and emptiness that carries on throughout its entirety painting the picture of a dystopian scenario rather vividly, with openers A Custodian of Science and Deplorable Request), but, at the same time, you also get the feeling that things could’ve been done differently on occasion, such is the case with the dim instrumental The Nighttime Project or the closer Scorned).
Production: Robust and vigorous, allowing the sound to excel as a perfect union between atmosphere and heaviness, enabling a solid work of mixing and mastering come to the fore.
Parting Thoughts: Given a strong musicianship and production efforts (courtesy of Abyss and Black Lounge Studios), A Thin Shell is capable of setting October Tide apart from the “Katatonia’s members’ side-project” cliché. However, the band still seems to be aimlessly drifting without ever reaching momentum at times, which is still their greatest handicap.