Tuesday, August 23, 2011
An Autumn For Crippled Children - Everything (2011)
Band: An Autumn For Crippled Children
Country: Friesland, Netherlands
Style: Experimental/Depressive Black Metal
Label: Aeternitas Tenebrarum Musicae Fundamentum
I can remember first finding the debut from AAFCC last year and I found it quite enjoyable and liked it. About a year or so later, we have their sophomore release and supposedly a more atmospheric endeavor than the debut. The cover also expresses a much less disturbing portrait of the music as well, so I had to come into this without much knowledge as to how it would sound.
Opener Fornever Never Falls, opens the album in a very unexpected way. Just to make a comparison, the debut was very dark, it was certainly in the realm of post-black metal, but it was still very dark and depressing, hence that tag, but the opener of this album presents this album as a much different beast. Instead of guitar-based melodies and dark soundscapes, this album bursts forth very a very melodic and upbeat sound filled with different synthes and keyboards. I kind of figured from looking at the track lengths that this album might be a bit simpler and maybe more straightforward than the debut, but this kind takes the band into what I've seen tagged as shoegaze, a genre I admittedly have very little exposure in despite liking bands influenced by it. In all honesty, if you take the time to listen to this, the first and last tracks are probably the worst on here, with the opener being extremely unmemorable and the closer, Rain, with drums that are way too loud and processed sounding to really fit in with how the rest of the album was presented, drum-wise.
Like I just said above, I have little experience with bands that could be considered to be real shoegaze. I know the big names, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, The Verve, and enjoy a good listen to them every once in a while, so to sum it up in a nutshell, I have a very limited experience with bands in the genre (feel free to recommend me anything you think would be good). It's obvious that this is not a "dark" album in the sense of being metal, the sounds on here are just way too playful and bright sounding, Absence of Contrast and Nothing/Everything, and are just way too upbeat and almost danceable to get a headbanger excited. Even at it's darkest, and perhaps most metal, moment in Her Dress As A Poem, Her Death As The Night, you'll find sounds that, at best, are still more in common with post-black metal, though much better performed in my opinion, than any pure "kvlt" metal sound. I'm also quite sure that people that are much more acquainted with the genre will say that this sounds nothing like those bands, which is true, but it's certainly not as metal as most of the bands doing the whole "post-black metal" thing either. In all honesty, while the vocals are still screamed, they're essentially irrelevant and due to them being pushed back a bit, most of them are actually quite ignorable.
By the end, you'll realize that most of the metal elements these guys had made use of on their debut has been traded for sounds that are becoming the norm in black metal these days. Having said that, I'll take this album, and band, over more than half the bands who attempt to be doing this sound, because what's on here is solid at it's worst. Definitely check it out if you like melodic, shoegaze or post-punk influence black metal, or the other way around.
Overall Score: 8
Highlights: We All Fall, Nothing/Everything, Cold Spring