Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Black Metal History Month: "An Autumn For Crippled Children:"The Long Goodbye"

I am overjoyed that this band has returned to their black metal roots. They had taken the post- rock shoe gaze thing past the point of being metal at all much less black metal. The only thing is that though the albums hit with static distortion coating it like an alien transmission it also makes the first two songs sound the same. Their is a shift in tempo on "A New Form of Stillness", which blends some of the textured melodies they discovered by not playing metal and have speed them up into their current frothing form. They drop down into more of a Mogwai like dream state on "Only Skin". The lift off when distortion engages is fairly gentle in a Deafheaven like manner. Of course these guys preceded Deafheaven by a couple of years, but the vocal patterns that are spastic bursts of screaming paced out like if Morrissey was a flesh eating zombie with rabies.

"When Night Leaves Again" raises a pretty raucous , the shoe gaze section is more distant and spacious than I remember their previous work being. The My Bloody Valentine influence looms over some of these guitar tones. They touch on some beautiful melodies, but also fall prey to having some of the songs sound like continuations of the song before it. This is better handled dynamically on songs like "Endless Skies" where the pitter patter of the drum machine makes this a distinctly different entity. The vocals even come in with a renewed scathing to them. This reminds of how this shoe-gazing style of black metal descended from depressive suicidal black metal.

There is also no trouble distinguishing "Gleam" from the other songs on the album. It rockets off at a pretty up beat pace. Not fast  for black metal , but fast for the kind of indie rock the origins of this sound could be traced from. The synths are really tasteful on this album and sit well in the mix.They close the album out with a decent compromise of past and present. "The Sleep of Rust" is a floating mid paced song with synths largely overtaking the guitars , but the result it better than that sounds. it has a dynamic ebb and flow. While the guitar who handles the vocal duties of this three piece, has expanded his placement of his screams they sit in the same register through out the album. They are pretty impassioned, but the icing on the cake and not the focal point.

This album is a good return to form for the band, even if a few of the songs bled together, some of that is in the production as a uniform distortion coats most of the album. I'll round it up to a 9 and throw in the old iPod, which after my tax return will be a new iPod so I can load albums that are even 7's onto it if I am hopeful enough. Die hard fans of the band make think it's ten, I have been following them for at least four years now and I'm glad they did not run their back on metal but brought back what they picked up out wandering in other genres for the past two albums and applied it here.

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