an-autumn-for-crippled-children_try-not-to-destroy-everything-you-loveToday on Angry Metal Guy we’re pleased to present you with some depressive, experimental doom black… wait, are those pink orchids? How adorable! It’s times like this that question whether I was destined to be a flower-arranger rather than a metal reviewer [A Morbid Florist?? — Steel Druhm], but thanks to the adventurous forays of An Autumn for Crippled Children (AAfCC herein), I can finally embrace the idea of being both.

Disingenuity aside, I have quite a weakness for the recent influx of shoegaze-influenced black metal bands, and AAfCC has been one of the few projects that keeps delivering great material. For those with a hankering for a perfectly balanced mix of prettiness and melancholy, it really fills that void. Not only does it hold some catchy and accessible tunes, but all of the band’s music is instantly recognizable and unique. In terms of mood, you can hear bands like Alcest and Woods of Desolation‘s later material, but it’s apparent that this is a beast of its own. It’s a wonderful mix of familiar and refreshing, and the unique take on the relatively young genre has made this project one of the few that I’d implore anyone to watch closely, and this record re-enforces that sentiment.

depressingOn “Try Not to Destroy Everything you Love,” AAfCC are prettier and more sentimental than they’ve ever been before. The synths and electronics are bigger than ever, with much more emphasis on layering rather than letting simplistic melodies domineer the tracks. It has broad electronic strings, delicate piano and everything in-between. The obvious drum machine is expertly fused with the mix and isn’t at all a distraction. The bass steals the show with lines that become the melodic emphasis of almost every piece; an asset the band flaunts oh-so-pleasingly.

The stronger songs are the ones that let the bass shine through the thick bright haze of over-distorted guitar and layered synth. Even with the guitars being more of a reverbed rhythm backdrop, they still know when to pull out of the fog and play an infectious lead. The vocals are pushed further back than ever before, the rasps being so far in the background that they’re almost easy to ignore, but with the wealth of layers occuring at any given time it doesn’t feel like its a deficiency.

However, it’s structurally where I feel this all falls down. Many songs seem like a copy of their older records and the way several songs end abruptly with the reverb ringing out is something AAFCC has done on every album. While there’s nothing explicitly wrong with the way many these tunes are structured, it would have been great to see more of an effort to distinguish the new material from previous works.

An Autumn for Crippled ChildrenAt least in terms of production the album showcases its layers pleasingly, with everything being easy to distinguish, though more in the way of dynamics would have been welcome. Regardless, individual tracks still shine through as some of the best this project has given us so far. The beautifully delicate tones of “Sepia Mountains for Her Lament” is uncompromisingly gorgeous, and the beautiful, droney atmosphere of “Never Complete” is just so warm and pleasurable. The few songs that take a different approach, such as the title track that sounds as little like black metal as it possibly can, still succeed.

Try Not to Destroy Everything You Love is a fairly adventurous affair littered with small things you don’t think would work in the context it creates for itself – but do. There’s a distinct departure from the oppressive tones of Lost and there are many things this album does well, even though it’s essentially a carbon copy of the last record with minor improvements. It proves its worth and it’s a very pleasing listen. If nothing else, we have to thank AAfCC for proving that you can make shoegazy black metal with a bittersweet, nostalgic feel while avoiding the “sad person lamenting beneath a lonely streetlight” vibe. Bringing some colour to our grey longing – long live the orchids.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
Label: ATMF Records
Websites:  |
Release Dates: Out Worldwide on 12.02.2013

  • The Metal Pigeon

    One question, is that a picture of the Smashing Pumpkins circa “Adore” era in the middle of the article?

    • Good question. Maybe because Steel Druhm believed that no one ever would read this review?

    • Maybe…maybe NOT!

  • Max Williams

    I believe those are gladiolas. Just saying.

    • Sprite

      They are. But don’t expect the reviewers to live near a greenhouse and know anything about flowers. What does that have to do with music?

  • Mike Eckman

    Can someone please explain to me what ‘shoegaze’ means? I read the article on Wikipedia, and it lists bands like Sonic Youth, Catherine Wheel, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and The Cure. It says that it was popular in the early 90s and then again in the early 2010s, but when I hear stuff like this, I dont think of ANY of those bands. Does ‘shoegaze’ mean the bands just stand there looking at their shoes while playing? If so, whats the opposite of ‘shoegaze’? If a band moves around a lot on stage, are they ‘shoemover’? I just don’t understand. Its almost as confusing to me as what the hell ‘djent’ means!!!

    • Shoegaze to me is anything with long, drawn out segments of repetitious music designed to weave a hypnotic or trance-like state in the listener. It can be heavy and droning like Sun(((0 or more melodic like late period Ulver.

    • horns and horns

      “Does ‘shoegaze’ mean the bands just stand there looking at their shoes while playing?”

      Essentially, yes. The type of music, layered guitars with tons of effects, was nicknamed such because players had a tendency to stare at their effects footboards while playing live shows.

      But it has evolved to mean a specific type of sound. Think heavily layered guitars with melodies (in a way that the heavily layered guitars of post rock don’t have easily recognizable melodies oftentimes) and shoegaze is probably there to define it somehow.