AutumnTears - Promotional Sampler Compilation (Dark Symphonies) I had high hopes for this CD from its label alone - as many probably know, Dark Symphonies put out the recent Maudlin of the Well albums, among the best experimental extreme metal albums ever. However, don't expect extreme metal from AutumnTears, as the CD describes it, they play a "unique brand of dark, orchestral and dramatic music, incorporating somber, neoclassical symphonies with enchanting vocals, foreboding poetry, duets, and medieval melodies. Influences range from chant and classical music to Enya, Stoa and earlier Dead Can Dance." This CD is a compilation of songs from their 4 releases on Dark Symphonies. In other words, this is an exclusively minor-key kind of New Age music with Goth overtones, especially in the lyrics. As the self-description above surely attests, this band is incredibly, incredibly pretentious (each of their CDs is labeled as an "Act"), but isn't that really the point of a lot of goth-oriented music? As easy as it would be to rip into this CD, I have to admit it is pretty good for it's genre. The band is heavy on female vocals and synthesizers (actually that and male vocals is all it consists of), which has it's plusses and minuses. The female vocals are truly beautiful and the male vocals effective in their supporting roles, but the synthesized strings (and, to a lesser extent piano and percussion) are annoyingly fake much of the time. Again, it's standard for the genre I suppose (though I think Elend somehow transcend that). I like it better when they use sounds that aren't imitations of classical instruments (like the one eerie burst of sound in "A Dreaming Kiss"). Lyrics are often in English with some French (I think) here and there, but except for some spoken word it's easy to ignore the actual words, which is probably a good thing for me. My other criticism is that so many bands like this strive for the ultimate in "dark mystical gothic romanticism," but still feel obliged to stay in straightforward minor keys - I find Gregorian chant, Machaut's motets, Schoenburg's hyper-romantic period, etc. much more intense in the previous aspects because of the absence of a clear tonal center. Perhaps the band is exploring this, since some of the tracks from "Act 3" seem more tonally and timbrally experimental (I especially like the a cappella "The Passion and the Fury"). All of this said, there are many moments of powerfully intense minor-key beauty on this CD. There are few things more emotional than two female vocals lines frantically weaving around each other at a frenzied climax. In conclusion, this seems to be a good CD containing much of what is both good and bad about the goth-classical genre (oh yeah, there is one embarrassingly bad goth-dance track, "The Dance," which I hope is the group's last foray into synthesized drum loops). Here's hoping they make an a cappella, more adventurous album eventually. ~ Adam Murphree
To purchase this recording and get more info, soundclips, etc.
CLICK ON ARTIST'S NAME ABOVE
OR . . .
Please try my brand spankin' new
EER-MUSIC.com and AMAZON.com QUIK-LINKs
buyer's guide to recommended music.
go to my LINKS page and find the vendors' section.