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October Tide have certainly shaken off that Katatonia vibe. 'Grey Dawn' is the second full-length by October Tide and turned out to be the final record the band ever made as they split-up shortly afterwards. 'Grey Dawn' signifies the lose of the leading role of Jonas Renske. He had decided to step down from doing the vocals and hand the spotlight over to Mårten Hansen. This brings around an immediate change to October Tide. With Jonas seemingly stepping back from the limelight, Mårten Hansen has the chance to prove his worth in front of the mic. Unfortunately for him, he is overshadowed by the performance Jonas gave on 'Rain Without End'.
Despite the obvious Katatonia influence running through the debut full-length, it was a more pleasing effort by October Tide. I'm not entirely sure why the band split, to be honest I don't particularly care, but it would seem to me that there were problems. Musical development wasn't achieved on this full-length. 'Grey Dawn' can be seen as somewhat of a backwards step. Certainly not the direction they were hoping for. It would seem that since Mårten Hansen seemingly took control, October Tide attempted to react and reform, much like a political system. He certainly reacted to being given the leading role for this Swedish outfit, but he didn't reform them.
I'm not doubting Mårten Hansen's ability at all, but the reason why this full-length doesn't live up to expectations starts from the front, and at the front we have the vocalist. He doesn't give a very commanding performance. His growls aren't as powerful as Jonas'. They don't have enough conviction behind them, which is disappointing. There is still a Katatonia vibe flowing through October Tide, which is also disappointing. I like Katatonia, but I don't want to hear clone bands. October Tide are a competent outfit, but they're nothing spectacular. They float in the realms of mediocrity and seem to be content to stay there. The style is lacklustre and not as penetrative as 'Rain Without End'. The guitars have changed in sound. They appear more hollow and void of emotion. 'Rain Without End' gave a particularly stunning performance in terms of dynamism in emotion.
The distorted riffs were melancholic and sorrowful. 'Grey Dawn' is nothing but a sad title. The riffs can depict sorrow at times, but mostly they're just bland and uneventful. They have no spark, no direction to them. Like I said, floating in the realms of mediocrity. The acoustics to lighten the load a bit, but we're back to the stuttering performances on guitar and the forgettable percussion side. 'Grey Dawn' is disappointing. It's not terrible, but it's disappointing.