Friday 31 October 2014

Autumnal - The End Of The Third Day (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 17/10/2014
Label: Cyclone Empire

‘The End Of The Third Day’ CD/DD track listing:

1.   A Tear from A Beast (09:09)
2.   One Step…And the Rest of Our Lives (11:47)
3.   The Head of the Worm (09:28)
4.   Man’s Life Is the Wolf’s Death (07:18)
5.   Resigned To Be Lived (10:38)
6.   The Storm Remains the Same (04:59)
7.   Don’t Leave Me Now (SUPERTRAMP-Cover) (07:30)
8.   Father’s Will (10:26)


AUTUMNAL was formed in Madrid, in 1998, by Ricardo and Javier de Pablo, being considered the cornerstone of Iberian metal both by fans and media, a must hear and crucial reference among bands within this genre that has slowly increased their fan-base with each release and each intense live performance, no mattering the pace.  Through different changes in the line-up and different stages in the band, 3 different EPs and 2 full-length albums have been the result of years of experiences and hearts full of passion; a catalog of mainly self-produced works slowly built, attracting media and fans and submerging them in a true, unique atmospheric universe.

In 2006, the release of  “Grey Universe”, the band’s first full-length album presented via Xtreem music, brought about a new stage in which the highest praise from world-wide media and fans has prevailed, being the key for opening new opportunities in different countries (Portugal, The Netherlands, Ireland) with important bands like ANATHEMA, MORGION, KATATONIA, DRACONIAN, ISOLE or SATURNUS, and for being featured in Metal Magazines such as Rock Hard, Metal Hammer and among countless webzines world-wide.

“The End of the Third Day” (Cyclone Empire - 2014; recorded by Carlos Santos -Sadman Studios, Spain-, and mastered by Jens Bogren -Fascination Street Studios, Sweden) will set the future for a step further. This second full-length album turns to be the perfect gathering of melancholic harmonies with epic passages and deep tones, always sounding like the caress of a dark, melodic and doomed hammer, demolishing walls and breaking souls.  Records like this happen when music and feelings come straight from the heart.  AUTUMNALs heart-crushing passages are back, opening a new stage to come... Be ready for more, be ready for AUTUMNAL.

The Band:

Javier de Pablo | Vocals
Julio Fernández | Guitars
Ricardo de Pablo | Drums
Miguél Ángel Gutiérrez | Bass

Within the first few seconds of putting this album on, the first thing that came to mind was Type O Negative. Look, every band has a sound that wears its influences on its sleeve. All musicians do it. We can't help it. I would be damned surprised if the late Peter Steele wasn't an influence on Autumnal. There’s nothing wrong with that. Making a comparison to such a band is actually a compliment. However, in the best of cases, the band makes an effort to distinguish itself from that more established sound. 

Autumnal does exactly that and the first track, "A Tear from a Beast", is a good melodic song, which while dark, doesn’t quite get to smashing up the place. It seems the song prefers to keep a mellower vibe. That vibe persists until about halfway into the second song, "One Step, and the Rest of our Lives", when suddenly, it shifts into a full-blown metal song with double bass and the angry growling vocals so many bands use. Just as quickly it slows back somewhat, and goes back to the melodic vibe again, and ultimately fades into a piano piece.

I like a good song that builds up, blitzes, and slows back down at the end. Autumnal uses a lot of musicality to what they are doing. It's rare to hear an unknown band (to me that is) produces an album with as much polish as this album. There is no trace of that "Raw Sound" so many bands have these days and that can be a good or a bad thing depending on who you are. I, myself prefer a little rawness, a little bit of that ‘Garage’ sound. A little dirty, if you will. Autumnal is not that band.

Good music paints a picture. It could be a picture of fat lady who refuses to smile. If you like portraits of said fat ladies, then you'll appreciate that painting. Autumnal paints deep, haunting pictures, using some interesting musicality and instruments. Even a violin crops up. This is absolute "Melodic Metal". While it does "get up and start smashing things" like a good metal song should, most of their songs return to the melodic almost Gothic vibe they start in. One thing is clear; you won’t be expecting a Supertramp cover.  I wasn't.  Yet, a pretty solid cover of "Don't Leave Me Now" comes up. Not bad. They don't exactly do a "straight up" cover of it, and I can appreciate that. I much prefer when a band make it their own and Autumnal certainly does that with this tune.

Ok, enough fluff.  If I had any criticisms about Autumnal "The End of the Third Day", it would be the length of most of the songs. Other than the Supertramp song, most of these clock in at 9 or 10 minutes or more. Don't get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with epic-ness.  I appreciate the work and artistry it takes to make each song flow together for that long, but....perhaps today's fast paced world, the internet and a bit of ADHD has killed my attention span, because to be honest, I get a little bored after about 7 minutes of your song, no matter who the hell you are. That’s just me.

If you are not a fan of epic 9 minute melodic metal songs, don’t bother with this album.
If you do like that sort of thing, then you'll be sorry if you don't check this out. The use of violins and piano along with the moments of double bass drums and riffing goes well, and not a sour note is to be heard. I may not be a true fan of this style of music, but I know when it's being played well and this record is an example of that. 

Words: Mike Borsum

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