Man, talk about dropping the ball. October File’s first effort, Holy Armour from the Jaws of God, was a solid little album, if highly derivative of the mighty Killing Joke. Its abrasive mix of metal and punk was a respectable homage to the snarling call to anarchy of the Joke. But on Our Souls to You October File commit the unforgiveable sin: they play it safe. They’re plying a sound that relies on conveying palpable disdain and dangerous passions, meant to shake you from the doldrums and capable of inciting chaos. In short–burning brightly and dangerously. By contrast, on Our Souls to You October File stays on a very short leash. The only danger here is in nodding off.
Don’t get me wrong, for a song or two this material is actually reasonably serviceable, but it doesn’t take long to be struck by how similar these songs are. There’s not nearly enough variation in tempo, melody, and vocals. No doubt the intent is to deliver a visceral, passionate album, but the material’s one-dimensional nature comes off as packaged rebellion that lacks the danger, dynamics and creativity of the template built by modern Killing Joke. It’s not without its moments (“Crawl”, “Dredge”, the self titled instrumentals), but Our Souls to You is best taken in small doses. This band is capable of more.