“ Artist: Autumn / Genre: Hard Rock & Metal „
This first offering from Russian doom metal band Autumn was self-financed and self-produced, something evident even in the admittedly rubbish cover art and disappointingly present in the music itself, which suffers from volume problems and an overall fuzzy, echoed sound. Sometimes this can be a distinct bonus for slow and dirgey doom - take Anathema's early releases for instance - but it isn't so suited to the lighter and more melodic touch that characterises this album at its best. While this is still effective doom in the Anathema/My Dying Bride tradition, at this stage in their career the now-defunct band lacked a distinct sound, and while this at least makes for some interesting variety between the hard and crunchy despair of 'The Dance in Blood' and the more Katatonia-like melodic course of 'The Sons of Ocean,' the best song here, it harms most of the other songs that try to incorporate several styles into their overlong duration and end up sounding basic, messy and forgettable as a result.
Svetlana Polezhaevais the most talented band member here, providing the keyboards and violin that tinkle and sweep gracefully over the finer tracks and interludes, and her ethereal singing adds excellently to the atmosphere. The rest of the band is competent, but nothing particularly special, the lead guitars sounding nice enough in their repetition of pleasant, My Dying Bride off-cuts but failing to stand out against the rest of the doom metal horde, and the rhythm section is hardly noticeable even when the production allows for it. Most of the songs are severely overlong which isn't too much of a problem with this sort of atmospheric doom metal, but the extended length of those such as 'The Druid Autumn' in particular spurs the band on to fill up the time with numerous movements in varying degrees of heaviness, separated by unsatisfying silence.
Although their Anathema-style heaviness isn't bad, it's a shame the band relies on it so heavily in this album, as the lighter passages are always far more rewarding, but then there's always the danger of becoming another Katatonia clone. 'The Sons of Ocean' and 'Shine on Me' make better use of their time than most songs here, though the shorter offerings 'The End of Last Summer' and 'Whispering Your Name...' are both pretty in an insubstantial way, while attempts to characterise some songs with extracurricular touches - such as the unconvincing sex noises of 'The Dance in Blood' - are similarly ineffective. While this is a nice enough doom album to play in the background, as long as you don't mind being distracted by the volume problems of the fifth song in particular, it's generally a mediocre offering from the otherwise excellent nineties Russian doom metal scene that produced such great bands as Tears of Mankind, and it's more likely to leave you feeling sort of bored than depressed.
1. The End of Last Summer (Intro)
2. The Druid Autumn
3. Whispering Your Name...
6. The Sons of Ocean
7. The Dance in Blood
9. Shine On Me