The Womb Of Primordial Nature
posted on 10/2008 By:
Interestingly enough, October has just fallen, and this is exactly the sort of music I tend to lean towards as the weather slowly begins to shift towards the more dismal. I appreciate the sun, obviously, but there's something unquestionably invigorating to me about being out-and-about when nature is bare-bones and focused on driving the living towards shelter, slumber, or death.
The Womb of Primordial Nature is an album tailormade for fans of encroaching gray weather. Actually, if I'm not mistaken, everything Finland's October Falls has done over the past seven years has been geared towards the desolate. I'll leave the fine-toothed-comb background research to you fine readers, but the quick and dirty is this: Mikko Lehto started this endeavor as a dark folk project, but around 2005 he began incorporating metal elements. Now, in an effort to clue his listeners in on which path he's taking with each subsequent work, Lehto's come up with a simple key: logo surrounded by box = folk release, logo surrounded by circle = metal release. As you can see here, we're in for some metal.
If you're anything like me, a cursory sample of the material from The Womb of Primordial Nature will probably get you pretty bloody excited. There's definitely an early Opeth flavor in these walls, but it's the Opeth before they began worshipping at the altar of progressive rock acts such as Camel. This album hearkens more to the Morningrise days when Akerfeldt's vocals were raspier, the music was blacker, and the quiet moments were a little less progressive. But before you go looking for the missing link between Orchid and Morningrise, understand that October Falls' take on the style is definitely less adventurous. That's not necessarily a deficiency, as far as I'm concerned, but I suppose I could understand how one might balk at just how stringently each song sticks to the given blueprint.
The four tunes that make up The Womb of Primordial Nature all follow a very similar strategy: unadorned acoustic guitar with gentle rain in the background opens each track, serves as a transition between heavier hooks, and also closes each song by softly shifting directly into the next cut. The heavy hook in "I' has an upbeat, toe-tapping feel; "II"'s hook is decidedly more melancholy; "III" is triumphant and rather sweeping; and the closer speeds things up just a tad and emphasizes the Moonsorrow atmosphere that also traces the black metal corners of this release (undoubtedly aided by the sporadic deeply sung "aaaaah's" in the distant backdrop of a couple tunes, and obviously because both bands share the same drummer). Lehto also peppers each song with some modest, catchy lead string bending that shows you don't necessarily need to be mind-warpingly complex in order to deliver an emotive lead. The 4-minute mark of the opening track is a perfect example of this, but it honestly occurs all over this fine release.
I don't think there's too much to be concerned with in terms of blemishes on WoPN. Perhaps the aforementioned straightforwardness? As it stands, I'd say the only real issue is the same one Lehto's had since the inception of October Falls: the album's too short. At a mere 38minutes, it's barely longer than Agalloch's recent White EP. Then again, I suppose this is something fans have come to expect by now. Luckily, Lehto releases albums fairly often, so at least we (hopefully) won't have to wait too long to hear some fresh material. Until then, I'd advise you part ways with some hard-earned cash for this release right now and give that big, smiling sun a double dose of middle-finger-flips.
"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape -- the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something awaits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show." ~ Andrew Wyeth
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