- Band(s): Autumn Laments
- Label(s): Remparts Productions
- Release Format(s): CD
- Release Year: 2023
- Review Date: April 5, 2023
- Author(s): Colin McNamara
‘Gone’ is another ‘diamond in the rough’ re-release from 2019 of solo German Melancholic Atmospheric Black Metal act Autumn Laments. Now on an actual label and remastered, Remparts Productions is showcasing the first album from main man L.S., who like many in the solo Black Metal profession, likes to keep a bit of mystery about them. It should be noted that despite the remastering, the music here is a mix of sorrowful/depressive and abrasive, like Nocturnal Poisoning and Xasthur coming together rather than being separate projects. L.S. creates an atmosphere that is both wintery but also lush and autumn heartfelt, hence the name of the band. A lot of acoustic work builds the atmosphere versus using symphonics, so don’t quite expect a Ghostbath level of Black Metal, but there is a lot of Ghostbath influence in the vocals. They are RAW- almost painfully raw when they first break on a track like ‘Autumn Forest.’ Almost that wailing shriek that Malefic of Xasthur employs, listeners are going to find it a bit of a grind to understand or enjoy them if they haven’t dipped their ears in the Suicidal Black Metal pool to get warmed up to it. Those who are used to a more croaking snarl or shriek from the likes of other Atmospheric acts like Agalloch or Drudkh will probably be a bit turned off, but in this painful delivery one cannot deny the emotional level is pretty overwhelming.
The Black Metal elements are pretty repetitive in the riff styles with the drum kit/drum machine going in thick percussive slams, but they at least vary in pace from the slower and doomier interludes to the rather melodic, and still depressive faster parts. Tracks like ‘Gone’ employ a bit of that ‘wintery snow crunch’ sound to the distortion of the riffs and with the background hiss really make listeners feel like they are in a blizzard of sorts. However, the music isn’t all a battle of blizzard beatings. Many like ‘Voidness’ keep up with the intro track of giving a more acoustic, lush feel, and even here the fuzzed guitars and vocals are scaled back a bit so the softer parts shine all the way through rather than ‘soft segment to start, then harsh takes over the rest of the track.’ At the same time with these faded out elements, the comparison to older Xasthur becomes even stronger. But, unlike the Suicidal Black Metal approach, L.S. aims for a more slow burn atmosphere that still pretty much attempts the same thing as he whispers and sighs he way through rather than shrieking. This approach is probably going to be a lot more tolerable for those who are not used to this type of Black Metal.
There are some moments where Autumn Laments does fail themselves with the ‘fade out effect.’ On ‘Wintery Mountain Peak’ L.S. really pushes his vocals back but keeps the guitars and drums in the front, going for the atmospheric effect that his is really drowned out by a blizzard, but at the same time turning the track into mostly an instrumental piece until near the end when his vocals finally break though. While it does serve as something ‘different’ on the album, listeners will probably prefer instrumentals like ‘The Unbeautiful Truth’ which is simple acoustic picking backed with winter wind samples and really evokes the spirit of the album cover. Overall, ‘Gone’ is a simple but mesmerizing album with pretty much everything on point for the Atmospheric Black Metal genre. Musicianship is varied enough not to feel like one can start a track, skip ahead 3 minutes, and sound like it is in the same place. Vocals are harsh and abrasive but not TOO harsh and abrasive to the point that they need to be turned off. The balance between acoustic and electric is well enough and the overall theme of the album works well together as the end of autumn and the start of winter which ties in to the internal feelings of melancholy and depression. This is not a happy album, but it is not a suicidal one either.
- Country: Germany
- Style: Black Metal
- Links: Bandcamp, Youtube