Autumnblaze - _Perdition Diaries_
(Prophecy Productions, 2009)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
Throughout the four full-length albums and two EPs that Autumnblaze released between 1998 and 2004, they never seemed interested in fitting snugly inside some genre or another. Depending on which record you look at, you might find different doses of metal and leftfield rock being mixed with more or less successful results. Autumnblaze's breakthrough album never materialized though, and the band eventually broke up -- only to be reformed with a different line-up and a ravenous appetite for '90s dark metal in 2009.

With original members Eldron and Arisjel joined by Schwadorf (of Empyrium and The Vision Bleak fame, among others), Autumnblaze make no excuses for abandoning the alternative rock path they were previously treading. This is a different band altogether from their last album, _Words Are Not What They Seem_. This new incarnation of Autumnblaze specifically refer to Paradise Lost, Anathema, Katatonia, My Dying Bride, Dark Tranquillity and At the Gates as inspiration, for the way they broke the norms of what metal was supposed to sound like. Of all those, mid-era Katatonia is probably the closest musically, although the album is relatively varied. Still, while some passages of _Perdition Diaries_ may bring these or other bands to mind, the album ultimately takes you back to a certain time much more than it reminds you of a specific band at any point. In this Autumnblaze were successful: the album has a distinctly '90s metal feel, both in its doomy or heavier passages, mixed up with some remnants of the band's dark rock tendencies, and yet it maintains enough of a sound and character of its own.

_Perdition Diaries_ is in equal measure doomy and emotional enough, memorable and pleasantly metallic; and for one who has his metal roots firmly in the '90s and the bands they chose as inspiration, it's impossible not to enjoy the quality of the songs on offer. Autumnblaze have not created a masterpiece or even looked to make the heaviest, most original or most extreme record possible. However, they have successfully tread the fine line between going back to arguably better days for inspiration, and ending up with nothing more than a reminder of just how good some of those bands were. _Perdition Diaries_ is simply well made and enjoyable in an unpretentious way that is often sorely lacking these days.


(article published 30/7/2009)

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