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As Autumn Calls : An Autumn Departure

As Autumn Calls is a rare thing: an original band in a genre overcrowded with clones.

Northern Ontario is one of those places on earth that seems to have been specifically created as an influence for Black and Doom Metal bands. Majestic forests (some of them dating back to the last ice age), mountains, wild streams, grey skies and not a human being for miles around. And, of course, the late year season tends to be a bit more extreme than anywhere else. As their name suggests, As Autumn Calls is a band whose heart longs for the season of falling leaves.

Their 2009 EP ‘Emotionless’ was a pleasant surprise back then, and I must say that this first album follows the same path. Doom/Death forms the basic canvas here, but it is complemented by a lot of other musical influences (mostly Black Metal, be it in an occasional use of shrieking vocals or some icy guitars). The result is very different from your average My Dying Bride clone, and is leaning more in the direction of early to mid-period Katatonia, with a twist. The best example would be the song ‘Wither Away’: this is a classic ‘For Funerals To Come’-inspired song, but using acoustic and clean guitars, and an occasional burst from down- to mid-tempo that reminds me either of Dark Rock bands like Grey Waters or even some old Cold Wave stuff like Joy Division (yeah, this is THAT cold). And a vibe that, running below, is not unlike the one displayed by bands like Wolves In The Throne Room. While never losing track of Doom Metal inside.

The fact is, I'm pretty much puzzled as how to exactly classify the music displayed here. Which is always a good thing in my book, because it shows how original the band is. This is Doom/Death at at heart, no doubt about it. And it's also so much more. It is the music of untouched Nature in all its majestic beauty (as a matter of fact, when I first listened to the album, I was right in the middle of a trek in the Pyrenees Mountains: I can assure you that it was really some kind of an experience). The Katatonia cover ending the album is worth mentioning because, while following the basic structure of the song, As Autumn Calls manage to make it their own through some small, yet well tought-out ideas.

As Autumn Calls is a rare thing indeed: an original band in a genre overcrowded with clones. And while the music is personal, it never lets you outside its universe. Even better: the album lets you guess that the band has not fired all its bullets yet; they've released a great first effort, and still has enough rooms left for some improvement. I'm already eager to see into which woods they'll carry me next.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Initium (Intro)
2. Closer To Death
3. The Shadows Follow
4. The Demons Therein
5. Wither Away
6. In The Emptiness
7. Without You
8. Unearth My Sorrow
9. Murder (Katatonia cover)
10. An Autumn Departure (Outro)

Duration : Approx. 59 minutes

Visit the As Autumn Calls bandpage.

Reviewed on 2012-01-18 by Laurent Lignon
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