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Best heard as experimental mood instrumental music - 75%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, September 14th, 2015

Black Autumn's side of his split album with Veldes intrigued me enough that I decided to check out some of his other work. Fortunately for us both there's his 2014 album "Losing the Sun", fresh enough to be a starting point from which I can go backwards to earlier work or forwards to where BA main man M Krall is currently at.

BA delivers fusion ambient BM / doom and I find the main challenge and danger with this particular mix is that it can easily become monotonous and lumbering without delivering the atmosphere and intense emotion needed. Much of "Losing the Sun" is quite ponderous and the production isn't especially clear: the slightly muddy sound can flatten the music and make it one-dimensional in impact. Nuances of sound and emotion that should exist can disappear, and this means the melodies and riffs in the main have to work much harder than intended to convey intense feeling and drama. To his credit, BA includes clean-toned guitar and keyboards to help liven up the steaming BM roar, and his song-writing shows excellent grasp of structure and knowing how to build up and maintain tension throughout a piece of music.

The vocals are the weakest element in the overall style: they are far, far back in the mix and don't come out as much more than a lot of rasping. This is not so much of a problem if there are few lyrics, and they exist only to reinforce the emotion and drama in the music. If however BA decides to go for a mixed mainstream / underground audience, the lyrics are going to be more important and this means the singing has to be better. As it is, this album could be treated as a mostly instrumental work where lyrics happen to be incidental.

Each track boasts plenty of drama and tension, and tends to feature a particular mix of instrumentation, so that some songs have piano or organ as part of their mix and others may have clean-toned guitar threaded through the black metal elements. If there is one major flaw to pick out, it's that all tracks move along at the same slow pace and the loud thunk-thunk percussion is monotonous all the way through. As a result, individual tracks aren't quite as distinct from one another as they should be. Up until about the 24th minute, where everything suddenly goes briefly techno-electronic glitchy , the album busily steams through its dark fug with very little pause and if listeners get lost, they have to wait until the album's last 15 minutes to get a foothold back.

The album is perhaps best heard as experimental mood music of a sort, though it may be hard to handle for the first few hearings. The music improves as it progresses and the best treats come in later tracks like "The Distance". The music veers perilously close to bombast in parts and that may be an unfortunate result of the rough production. There's enough good stuff here though that at some later date, this album could be revisited and reworked into something that really brings out the inherent drama and majesty.