Autumnal - _Grey Universe_
(Xtreem Music, 2006)
by: Quentin Kalis (7.5 out of 10)
Initially I didn't think I would enjoy what seemed to be a steaming pile of pseudo-doom-goth nonsense. But I've learnt not to trust first impressions ever since I dismissed _My Arms, Your Hearse_ as a pile of proggy codswallop, and Autumnal's third effort is far more than some nth grade attempt at European darkness.

First, the negative: the vocalist needs to improve. The growl is passable, sure; but the clean intonations need work, as they frequently sound out of key, especially on the nasal gothic baritone of "As Soon as You Die, Kill Me" -- and the overwrought emotional style on "There Is Only One Season in the Sky" barely passes as an improvement. Autumnal also lack the emotional impact of a mid-era Anathema or latter day Katatonia, even though they utilise a similar post-doom gloominess.

Despite some dodgy vox and the lack of a sufficiently intense emotional impact, their material is surprisingly engaging. The music contained within is suitably morose, whilst the utilisation of a violin suggests a certain troupe of dour Englishmen may have been an influence, which can also be picked up on a few doomy chord progressions. Autumnal may not have the impact of the aforementioned maestros, but there is nothing to suggest that they could not do so on subsequent releases. The album's closer and highlight "Today, Tonight" is an unexpectedly mature and potent track that is hopefully an indicator of what is to come. Watch out for their next album -- that will surely be their magnum opus.


(article published 24/7/2007)

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