Desert Island Discs- Top Albums for Autumn/Fall

Do palm tree leaves turn and fall?

Who cares. The leaves have turned, trees stand barren and wasted, the shadows lengthen and the chill of cold breath fills the air. Autumn, the most metal of seasons is upon us and while I’m sure there’s hordes of obscure black metal albums I’ve never heard that fit the bill, here are some albums (in no real order) I think signal the dawn of winter and bring in the grimmest of seasons as good as any:

by Erik T

AgallochThe Mantle/Ashes Against the Grain
Arguably the preemptive autumn band, even Agalloch’s covers even imbue the changing of season with misty grays and Autumnal hues, and that’s before you even listen to the music. Once you do hit ‘play’, you are whisked away to mist filled, chilly dawns, reddened foreboding dusks and brisk crisp nights of quiet beauty. The poetic nature of Agalloch’s lyrics and music also brings in the pre winter peace that autumn carries with it as well as the menace of oncoming frosts and snows.

This album IS Autumn. As perfectly summed up by my associate Apollyon here , Maaäet is a minimalist yet evocative album of natural and almost transcendental music, that cries to be listened to in its entirety out in the woods at dusk. Its a stunning mood album that soothes with a solemn organic palette perfect for this time of year. If you have not heard this album yet, now is literally the time to experience it.

Another cover that cries Autumn, Borknagar’s quirky, more folky debut with its superb little filler interludes just reminds me of fur clad, bearded men sitting around a fireon a frozen lake in the dusk hours, talking and eating sausage as the fire fends off the night and the cold of winter.

Ulver Bergtatt
Unlike their current sound, Ulver’s debut LP is a tour de force of melancholic, folky black metal highlighted by Garm’s unmatchable croons. Aided by the fact that Norway and surrounding countries seem to be in a perpetual state of fall (you’ll notice no bands from California on this list), the music that comes from there, much like Autumn seems to often be fueled by a sweeping, majestic yet barren beauty-and that feeling is encapsulated by this album.

FinntrollVisor Om Slutlet
An acoustic EP riddled with sorrow due to the death of band member Somnium, Visor Om Slutlet (Songs about the End), is a sprightly but solemn jaunt of campfire ditties that make me envision the Finntroll lads in a small hut in the middle of the forest.

DuskMajestic Thou In Ruin
When a band called Dusk (now called Aphotic) actually samples the evening hours as birds head to roost and the sun head below the skyline, the only season it fits is the Fall. A loping, drawn out doom album littered with organic and natural sounds and prose, majestic Thou In Ruin was nestled between Disembowelment’s Transcendence Into The Peripheral and Morgion’s Among Majestic Ruin (both released on Relapse) in the US doom scene, and thus got sort of slightly overlooked thought it fits the season far better than either.

Wolves in the Throne RoomTwo Hunters
An album from a band where the weather seems to be stuck in a state of everlasting fall, and a band that seems to have some early Ulver-ish hues, you can literally feel the damp leaves crunch under foot and breath the mist of the Pacific Northwest on this blackened but organic and ambient sophomore album.

PrimordialThe Gathering Wilderness
What’s more Autumn-y than the windswept, craggy Irish landscape and epic tales of yore delivered with a rustic, natural yet barren tone and gruff vocals? Primordial’s sound is perfect for the Fall and The Gathering Wilderness, with it’s title, cover and rangy epic tracks is an almost transcendental journey into the season mood and feel. Grim, but beautiful.

Is there a more Fall-like band than Opeth? Light/dark. Soft/harsh. Solemn/savage. Especially early releases like Orchid and Morningrise which seemed composed just for such a season. With their early sound and artwork, Opeth’s package is complete for Fall listening, Akerfeldt’s vocal duality, the musical transtitions between the elegance and the menacing match the season’s transitional hues to a T; the wavering colors of Spring and the onset of Winter’s bleakness. Just perfect.

I’m sure some of you have other suggestions, so go ahead and comment with your thoughts and additions.



  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    great topic.

    off the top of my head:

    Drudkh – Autumn Aurora, Forgotten Legends
    Negura Bunget – Om
    October Falls – The Womb of Primordial Nature (review coming soon I promise)
    Insomnium – Since the Day It All Came Down
    The Morningside – The Wind, The Trees, The Shadow of the Past

  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    btw I am jealous of all you guys that live somewhere that have ACTUAL FUCKING SEASONS. Unlike Phoenix.

  3. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    I toyed with both Negura Bunget and Imsomnium for my list

  4. Commented by: crotchrot

    some other good fall albums:

    dark tranquillity- the gallery
    katatonia-brave murder day
    ulver- quick fix of melancholy ep
    enslaved- below the lights

  5. Commented by: gordeth

    Great list. Here are some of my favorite albums for Autumn:
    Moonspell – Wolfheart
    Tiamat – Wildhoney
    Rotting Christ – Triarchy of the Lost Lovers
    In the Woods – Heart of the Ages
    In the Woods – Omnio
    Unholy – Rapture
    Unholy – The Second Ring of Power
    My Dying Bride – Turn Loose the Swans
    October Tide – Rain Without End
    October Tide – Grey Dawn

  6. Commented by: SludgeHammer

    Thats a great list, as are the suggestions above. Some of my personal favourite autumnal offerings include:

    Blut Aus Nord – Memoria Vetusta I
    Windir – 1184/Likferd
    Celestial Season – Decamerone
    The Axis of Perdition – The Icheumon Method (and Less Welcome Techniques)
    Katatonia – Tonight’s Decision

  7. Commented by: guyinrubbersuit

    I definitely agree with Agalloch. When I was up in Flagstaff in early Janruary, I put on some Agalloch while it was snowing and it fit the scenery so well.

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