By: Daniel Jackson
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 15/7/2016
Label: Grau | Cold Dimensions
Börner writes and creates music that should appeal to both purist and tourist alike. Not because he haphazardly smashes the pieces into each other, like a child with their toys, but because his instincts and strengths do so organically. “Autumn’ is flush with atmosphere and overall is a cohesive and brilliant listening experience.
‘Autumn’ CD//LP//DD track listing:
3. Womb of Emptiness
4. Autumn Shades
5. The Wind and the Leaves
6. Climax of Sorrow
8. Escape II
The wait for a new ColdWorld album has been a long one. Georg Börner’s last release under the ColdWorld banner was 2008’s ‘Melancholie²’, an album rightfully adored by just about everyone who enjoys sorrowful black metal. It also fell between two different eras, as it relates to which sub-style of black metal were popular at the time. ‘Melancholie²’ came just as the wave of American one-man band projects (Xasthur, Leviathan) had already crested and flattened out, but also just before the increased popularity of post black metal (Amesoeurs, Alcest).
‘Melancholie²’ was something of a bridge between those two points in black metal history as well, having qualities of both the claustrophobic production of American black metal just after the turn of the century, but written with the dour melody and atmosphere of European post black metal. The album also had a character that separated it from anything else happening at the time, using violin, and soft electronics to add character so many of the other bands of the time were missing.
In 2016, the black metal landscape is significantly different. ‘Autumn’ comes at a time when black metal is in a state of change again, as we appear to be on a down cycle after the proliferation of “blackgaze”, especially in the United States. In these downswings, black metal tends to return to the basics in the interim, which is why so much of the best black metal releases this year have been more traditional, sticking closer to the late 80s / early 90s playbook. ColdWorld again finds itself landing just as one trend is wrapping up, and presumably, another will begin.
‘Autumn’ bears some resemblance to ‘Melancholie²’, as Börner has a certain melodic style that carries over, even after eight years. But this album is warmer, and sounds more natural (which is probably tied to the album’s title). The guitars aren’t as abrasive as they were before, the drum programming is less rigid. ‘Autumn’ is not as straightforwardly black metal as its predecessor. While clean vocals were definitely a factor on ‘Melancholie²’, they were so often buried in the mix and used for ambience more than being a focal point. “Womb of Emptiness” is an example of how that’s changed to an extent. Börner gives a somber, fragile performance on the song that recalls Jonas Renkse in his transitional period as a vocalist, particularly during ‘Discouraged Ones’. He doesn’t struggle to find the note like Renske did, but his voice has a similarly subdued, gentle nature to it.
More than anything, ColdWorld is no longer an omen of things to come masquerading as a part of the old guard. They’re simply existing in their place in time, and showing every other band and project the best version of what they could have been. Börner writes and creates music that should appeal to both purist and tourist alike. Not because he haphazardly smashes the pieces into each other, like a child with their toys, but because his instincts and strengths do so organically. ‘Autumn’ is flush with atmosphere, but not because Börner listened to Slowdive and decided to shoehorn that sound into blast-centric black metal. Instead, ‘Autumn’ is a cohesive, brilliant listening experience; a reimagining of its own sound rather than the awkward pairing of two sounds from someone else. The distinction may seem like a small one, but it makes all the difference in the world.
Band info: Facebook