October Rust: “Black Rain” – a five star record loaded with rich melodic soundscapes

Christoffer Tholsson (backing vocals, guitars, bass, drums and keyboards) and Henrik Svensson (lead vocals, keyboards, drums) of October Rust met around 2003-2004 in Kalmar in the south of Sweden, where they currently live. Early on they discovered that they both had a big interest in music but it wasn’t until around 2010 that they started to write and record music together. After releasing a few singles they started work on their concept album “Black Rain”.

The album artwork
The album artwork

“Black Rain” strikes you as immediately having very high production values. October Rust know exactly how and where to place instruments and sounds as well as to what extent to use them all, to produce a solid, deep, dark and consistent sound. The album is dynamic and feels consistent and ‘whole’- just as any good concept album should, as the songs examine the existence of someone who has killed a loved one and feels both free from, and deprived of, the departed being. After consecutive listens, you realize October Rust has produced an album of significant and immense beauty.

With a voice that sounds like a cross between the deep felt sorrow of Kurt Cobain and the dark melodic tones of Dave Gahan, Henrik Svensson carries the somber, melancholic verses straight through your mind’s eye and right down to the darkest pits of your soul. The album kicks off with the cult “Sin”, which uses the popular technique of “quiet verse, loud chorus” that has brought bands like Nine Inch Nails universal fame. It’s a formula that perfectly plays into the more than able musical hands of October Rust.

Though all of the tracks on “Black Rain” are impressive, a few deservedly stand out from the crowd; above all, “Whispers”, “I Forgive”, “Beautiful Mistake” and the aforementioned “Sin”. This is a five star record loaded with rich melodic soundscapes and crunchy sonic vistas that will likely induce episodes of deep contemplation alternating with serious euphoria.

October Rust
October Rust

The album doesn’t overpower the listener. It has a powerful quietness, a subtlety that makes it nearly impossible to fully appreciate on first listen. But upon each subsequent listen, its layers are uncovered, slowly and deliciously. Henrik Svensson can be breathtaking when he wants to be. In fact, when listening to the harmonics within Svensson’s vocal precision, it becomes apparent that the man has talent. He doesn’t have to hit you like a hammer with his voice to make a point, and he never tries to overpower you when he pours you an emotive soliloquy.

Next, there’s the issue of the musical content driving the songs and how Christoffer Tholsson manages to positively impact the arrangements. It’s one of those works that worms its way into one’s emotive inner eye, relating both situational experimentation and crescendos of feelings all in one stroke, and it does so by letting the musical backdrop cast so many emotions during the length of the album. Some tracks become dark overtures camouflaged in charming packages that seem to denote what monsters we can become, some are mediums of pain and perhaps love – depending on how you define the artifice of the heart…and the act of killing someone you love!

I’d say that you should sit back and relax when listening to “Black Rain” and give yourself to the sounds, because full immersion is the real beauty within the process.


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