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So this band is called Autumn, their latest release is entitled “Cold Comfort” and these two elements already tell you pretty much about the music you are going to witness on this album. The record is dominated by dark Gothic Metal riffs, mostly melancholic keyboard samples and the talented vocals of Marjan Welman. She makes me think a little bit of the Dutch Floor Jansen of After Forever and now ReVamp and has a charismatic and grounded voice that makes her stand out next to too many high pitched vocalists. Sometimes, she also reminds me of the late Sabine Dünser that was once the voice of Elis from Liechtenstein. As both After Forever and Elis don’t exist anymore, Autumn could maybe take their places one day but they are still far from getting some more attention with this repetitive release. The vocals are indeed quite chilling and warm which creates an interesting contrast with the rather cold, melancholic and sad atmosphere of the release but that’s where the problem is. Musically, this record is too limited and lacks of ideas.
The problem with this release is that it definitely lacks of variation. Differences between the different tracks are only minimal and no song truly stands out for anything special. After a couple of tracks, the recorded quickly gets redundant, especially from a musical point of view. Only the vocals are pretty well done while the rest sounds quite average and too laid back at many moments. The songs are overlong as is the album itself and lack of development. The longest songs are very hard to sit through. Only a couple of not slow but mid paced tracks can grip some needed attention as the bonus track “Changes For The Bitter” with its vivid riffs and keyboard samples that make me think of pipers. This track along side with “Retrospect” that has a beautifully warm chorus and the electronically influenced longing rocker “Black Stars” can be cited as highlights to my ears. “Naeon” is also passable and has some interesting keyboard melodies as well as some faster passages.
Many tracks just need too much time to kick off or show only a ridiculously tiny degree of progression such as the way tame “Alloy” to only cite one example among many others. The band always gets back to the same ideas and even the main melodies happen to sound quite similar. Only great vocals and three to four solid songs can’t save this release from my bitter final verdict.
I would only recommend this release for fans of atmospheric, depressive and slow paced female fronted Gothic Metal. The record has indeed some atmosphere for rainy autumn nights. The sad thing is that the musicians show sometimes that they are not that bad and especially the vocals have a great potential but the band stays way behind the possible and wastes a lot of talent. This album is just floating past me and even after many spins, nothing really remains but emptiness. You should still rather head for the gone idols of this band that are mentioned above.
Listening to a new Autumn album is a ritual for me! Closed eyes, cleared mind, and a heart full of excitement is the right process to explore the new musical horizons that Autumn set with their music. It has been a natural evolution for the band to change a bit with each album, but with this one the band becomes more mature and tight than ever!
The opening track, The Scarecrow, which is also gonna be their first single and video off of Cold Comfort, sets the mood to an autumn scenery that is still uncharted, but for a strange reason, it feels so familiar. Beautiful lyrics entwine with ethereal vocals from singer Marjan Welman into instrumental choruses and along with the soulful riffs and keys take the listener by the hand to an exciting trip. From the very first song, someone can understand that this is not going to be a typical Autumn album at all. The next song is the title track, Cold Comfort, a haunting song that makes me nostalgic for a warm safe place. Marjan’s voice shines with both strong and frail vocal lines full of passion, longing, and melancholy. The song is more uptempo than 'The Scarecrow' with the riffs being more alive as they build the ambiance to bursting! 'Black Stars in Blue Sky' is probably the catchiest song on the album with Marjan being dominant in the chorus, a spacy song with Jan’s keys setting the melodies into orbit to crash fiercely with 'Retrospect'. The song starts playfully, reflecting upon the past, but quickly outbreaks! I absolutely love the bass and guitars on this one and also the “electrified” atmosphere!
And then comes 'Alloy'. Words are not powerful enough to match with the beauty and sadness of this song. It’s enough to say that it is one of the few songs that has brought me into tears. I strongly recommend listening to this song while reading the lyrics and I’m sure you will find a piece of yourself in it. So after the tearful moment comes End of Sorrow, which is exactly what the title says! “A new summer is secretly enchanting” is the opening line and for awhile the cold and moldy atmosphere of Autumn takes a rest. A great romantic song with beautiful lyrics that invoke all kind of images as in a movie. 'Naeon' is a fast-paced song that reminds me a bit of 'The Heart Demands' from the previous album, “Altitude”, which later calms down at the bridge and picks up again to welcome 'Truth be Told (Exhale)', another song that brings on the chilly autumn wind with fallen leaves and another dose of melancholy. Truly an enchanting song with a 'lil surprise, a jazzy uptempo part before the riffs take over the song again!
And now for the finale, The Venamoured, a plea for a second chance. The sweet voice of Marjan accompanied by the backing vocals of guitarist Mats ask to “Grant us some time, give us courage to look inside”. The perfect ending for this album with heavy guitar riffs, atmospheric keys, drums, and bass at large! This is music at its purest form with a heavenly, yet earthly voice, a band that dives deeper into the very core of music which is…emotions!