Autumn's Dawn
Gone

Autumn’s Dawn is the relatively new project from Australian duo Tim Yatras (drums, guitars, vocals) and Matthew Bell (bass, guitars, keyboards), better known by their stage names Sorrow and Anguish. Furthermore, one or the other has been involved in various metal projects, including Germ, Austere, Rise of Avernus and Woods of Desolation.

Autumn’s Dawn represents something entirely different however, with the potential to draw in plenty of metalheads and alienate plenty more. Following a self-titled EP, Gone marks the band’s debut full-length and it’s a mournful slice of atmospheric and depressive rock, spiced with blackened elements and gothic undertones.  Although Autumn’s Dawn will most probably be labelled as a post-black metal band, the ‘rock’ side of the equation should not be understated. The restrained though occasionally driving base and enticing melodies at the core of their music reflects a dark and brooding rock sound, vaguely associated with the gloomy tones of modern day Katatonia, embellished by harsher metal elements rather than being dominated by them.

Stylistic conundrums aside, these talented lads have a real knack for intelligent songcraft and the different styles and influences they bring to the table, not to mention very tidy instrumental performances, results in an accomplished album that’s full of heartfelt emotion, melancholy and just enough uplifting moments to counteract the darker, depressive aspects of the material. While the songwriting is quite ambitious and varied, the songs themselves are delivered in punchy and concise time capsules, ensuring the album rollicks along nicely and wraps up before overstaying its welcome.  Another winning component to the rich sounds Autumn’s Dawn create, is the bleak tone and atmosphere that avoids getting too bogged down under its own weight of sorrow.

Vocals are supplied by Sorrow and are both a drawcard and hindrance to the album. He mostly utilizes an emotive clean croon, occasionally livened up by a deeper growl or anguished scream. Employing more of his aggressive vocal styles would have suited my personal tastes more, but in fairness his clean vocals conjure up some stirring vocal melodies. Unfortunately his clean vocals are also frustratingly inconsistent in quality and when they miss the mark and land in whinier territory the results are notably grating and prove detrimental during parts of the album, such as the irritating opener, “The Ashes of Life”.  It’s a conflicting aspect of the album that I’ve been wrestling with and it prevents me enjoying Gone as much as I would have liked.

Fortunately the music is pretty damn good, with the band’s compositional skills going a long way towards nullifying my vocal reservations.  The expressive guitar work is particularly tasty and memorable.  Grinding riffs march gracefully through frosty climates; shimmering melodies leave distinct sonic imprints, while the classy leads are skilfully placed. Although most of the material lopes along at a mid-tempo gait, there’s no shortage of variation, with clever shifts in dynamic or bursts of aggression keeping the songwriting interesting. Occasional tremolo riffs, blastbeats and the more extreme vocal stylings add welcome diversity and metallic elements to material that largely resides on the rockier end of the spectrum. Not to say Autumn’s Dawn play typical mainstream rock by any stretch. More like depressive, post-punk influenced alt rock with some blackened injections and a steady supply of distinct and memorable hooks and melodies.

Despite not being able to fully get behind the aforementioned “The Ashes of Life” or “Grace of the Grave”, other songs fare much better on the likeability scale. Aptly titled “Into the Cold” is a beautifully composed instrumental piece that serves as a fully fleshed album track rather than a throwaway interlude. Varied guitar and drum work, striking melodies and bleak yet enchanting atmospheric traits highlight the impressive composition. Meanwhile the divisive cleaner vocals hit the mark with far greater impact on the delicately crafted and paced mid-album tracks “When the Sun Sets for the last Time” and the contrasting shades of light and darkness on “Blank Stare, Dead Eyes”. Perhaps the closing two songs are the strongest examples of how compelling Autumn’s Dawn can be.  “Through the Rusted Gates of Time” and “Gone” brilliantly weave the band’s songwriting strengths and influences into captivating arrangements. Each boasts powerful melodies and dynamics, whilst offering the most effective engagement with their black metal influence.  Both songs benefit from a diverse and grittier vocal delivery as well.

Autumn’s Dawn have crafted an impressive debut of depth and quality, however, it’s also one of the more conflicting albums I’ve had the pleasure to absorb this year. Despite the vocal drawbacks, there’s a hell of a lot of good stuff on offer for the more adventurous listener and as it stands, Gone is an easy album to recommend but is not without its flaws.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
October 23rd, 2014

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