Label : Metal Blade Records
Review by Tony Cannella & Luisa Mercier
It is hard to believe that the first EP from the Dutch Metal Band Autumn was released 10-years ago. Since that initial EP (“Spring Starts With Autumn”), the band has grown and flourished before our very eyes and that continues on their just released 5th album “Cold Comfort”. This is the second Autumn album to feature lead singer Marjan Welman, and she seems to be growing more into the role of the voice of this talented Dutch band. Musically, Autumn has adapted a more of a proggy, more atmospheric – and sometimes relaxing – sound on “Cold Comfort”. The band pretty much adheres to the same basic tempo, but having said that, the songs and musicianship are good and should not be dismissed. From the thumping opener “The Scarecrow” and then the title track “Cold Comfort”, Autumn is indeed back. The third track “Black Stars in a Blue Sky” is easily my favorite and the band – especially Marjan are sounding great. Maybe this isn’t the perfect album, but songs like “End of Sorrow”, “Truth Be Told (Exhale)” and especially the closing track “The Venamoured” are all excellent and memorable. “Cold Comfort” is not one of those albums that have an immediate impact – at least it wasn’t for me. It definitely took a few listens to warm up to, but once I did I really grew to like many of the songs and the direction that Autumn has taken.
Rating – 80/100
I will not hide my love towards this band and above all towards the vocals of Marjan Welman, so you might imagine how excited I could be when I came to know that they were releasing a new album. So here I am, listening to “Cold Comfort”, their fifth release, in which the band took a step further in the evolution of their sound: from the alternative, catchy rock of “Altitude” to atmospheric, elegant, classy prog rock. Since the beginning, you will perceive a soulful yet technical feeling; the band did not bend itself to classic song structure, preferring to conjure up a new one like in “The Scarecrow”. The choruses are completely instrumental, but the guitar riffs and the background keys are as emotional as the female vocals in the verses. “Cold Comfort”, the title track, follows. Many of you may have already listened to this since it was chosen as appetizer for the album. Lively guitars lead to the calm pond of the verse where Marjan delivers her amazing vocal lines. This girl has been graced by a great talent, she can create a pathos that, mixed with the perfectly crafted music, can make your heart beat faster. Just listen to “Black Stars in a Blue Sky”, one of my personal favourite. The chorus will send shivers down your spine as she soars above guitars and synths. This track is maybe the catchiest on the record, which overall is not easy to grasp at first listen. Something I absolutely adore about “Cold Comfort” are the bridges of the songs. There you will find the most emotional moments of the CD and “Retrospect” is no exception. Despite being one of the fastest songs, it gradually builds up a certain melacholy which results in the epic bridge, crowned by impressive guitar work.
And here we are to “Alloy”. What can I say? Acoustic guitar and piano accompany us in an emotional trip with no end. Marjan vocals caresses your ears, sweet, soft, versatile. Never heard such an intimate song before by them. At about half of the song you will be suspended in a instrumental limbo where only a few notes can be be heard and then just listen as the tension rises higher and higher til it explodes. Best song on the album. Another little masterpiece is the mid-tempo “End of Sorrow”: an atmospheric, moody track which will lead you in a different dimension. Try not to be moved by the words of the chorus “I dream we are the last couple dancing, let me be the one to hold your hand, see that I can hold on forever, nothing can convince me otherwise”. You might perceive echoes of “Altitude” in the song, underlining the continuity between the two albums. “Naeon” and “Truth to Be Told (Exhale)” are the two songs in which the prog influence is more apparent. I would like to highlight the wonderful bridge of the first in which Marjan sounds almost otherwordly and the jazz-like break in the second. “The Venamoured” is the closing track. Heavy guitar riffs mix with the heavenly voice of the singer ; while the final minutes are literally a metal explosion. Aggressive guitars portray an energetic ending to this amazing album. Feelings, tecnique, atmosphere, different musical landscapes and moods, all of this can be found in “Cold Comfort”, one of the best rock/metal releases of 2011.
Rating – 100/100
- The Scarecrow
- Cold Comfort
- Black Stars In A Blue Sky
- End of Sorrow
- Truth Be Told (Exhale)
- The Venamoured
- Marjan Welman – Vocals
- Mats van der Valk – Guitars, Backing vocals
- Jens van der Valk – Guitars, Backing vocals
- Jan Munnik – Piano, Synths, Samples
- Jeroen Vrielink – Bass
- Jan Grijpstra – Drums