Autumnal_The End of the Third DayKindly overlook the album cover you see to the left. Not only does it lack the good grace to include some kind of cool spherical object, but it also resembles something from a Christian new age rock group (the kind they play at inoffensive volumes in Christian, new age-y coffee joints). Worse still, it doesn’t give the slightest indication that Autumnal is a winningly morose, melodic doom act from Spain, or that The End of the Third Day is destined to be one of the sleeper hits of 2014. With a sound nestled snuggly between My Dying Bride, Katatonia, To Die For and Saturnus, they cover a lot of depressive ground and do it with a deft ear for true sadness, keeping the whole construct steeped in heart rending atmospheres and soundscapes. There’s not an uplifting, sunny moment to be found anywhere in this grey haze, but once you embrace the beauty in the darkness, you find something pretty impressive indeed.

Talk about opening on a high point! “A Tear From a Beast” may just be the song of the year. It’s rife with exquisite To Die For and Katatonia worship as seen through the goth prism of The Cure and man, does it work like a charm. At nine minutes, it floats by effortlessly, carried glumly along by the pained but melodic vocals of Javier de Pablo and the downcast riffs and melodic flourishes of Julio Fernandez. It’s a gloriously somber, introspective number and it effortlessly checks every box a good doom song should.

While they can’t quite maintain this uber high standard, the rest of the album is loaded with very high quality doom. The Katatonia influence gets blended with a mid-period Paradise Lost esthetic on “One Step…and the Rest of Our Lives” with impressive results and de Pablo stretches his vocal range with some surprising Danzig and Keith Caputo impressions. “Head of the Worm” unpacks the My Dying Bride / early Anathema baggage and serves up heavy doses of sad violin/cello as death roars get intermingled judiciously with clean singing. Things take a turn for a more commercial To Die For style of glum goth rock on “Man’s Life is the Wolf’s Death” before drifting into heavier Rapture and Insomnium territory.

All the songs hold their own weight and feature first-rate playing and expertly crafted moodiness, with only “The Storm Remains the Same” falling a bit short. Hell, even their cover of Supertramp‘s “Don’t Leave Me Now” works well and reminds me a wee bit of Saturnus.

Autumnal_2014

Unfortunately, here’s where I’m forced to do my usual rant about song lengths. While their material is wonderfully emotive and more depressing than a puppy drowning convention, Autumnal sometimes lets their epic doom ditties run too long. While length isn’t an issue on a song as stunning as “A Tear From a Beast,” it does weigh upon cuts like “One Step…” and “Head of the Worm” despite a lot of bells and whistles designed to keep the music interesting. This is compounded by the 70 minute plus running time of the album. That’s a whole lot of gloom and doom to endure and by the end, you’ll be sorely in need of many a Zoloft. I know that’s the point of the album, but a little editing wouldn’t hurt anyone.

There’s also a tendency to overdo the strings section at times, as on the otherwise solid and mega moody closer “Father’s Will.” This isn’t too big of a deal, but the sad strings of fate are best kept to a minimum with this kind of music, lest they become a distraction and compete with the guitars.

Quibbles aside, I’m an instant fan of de Pablo’s vocal work. His vocals run all over the map as the album goes along, proving him adept at both gothy crooning and death roars. He has the perfect voice for this kind of music and his singing really grabs your attention. I’m equally impressed with the fretwork from Fernandez. He lays down some truly beautiful harmonies and leads and has the a real gift for sullen and bleak playing. His work on the last minute of “Resigned to be Lived” (ESL wipeout) is understated but captivating and similar subtle touches appear throughout the album.

Though I had absolutely no idea who these guys were when I sampled their promo, it only took a few minutes to realize they have something special going on. Remember their name and by all means check this out. I’m already excited to hear from them again and I predict good things for their future. Despite that damn album cover, Autumnal has given us a delightful album for the winter we all know is coming. Enjoy the sadness.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7  |  Format Reviewed: 192 kbps MP3
Label: Cyclone Empire
Websites: Facebook.com/Autumnaldoom
Release Dates: Out Worldwide 10.17.2014

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  • Garksa

    Looks like one of those album covers metalcore bands put out when they’re trying to convey they’ve matured, and instead it’s everything you liked about them distilled out of the music.

    • Kronos

      OH HEY THERE ALL THAT REMAINS.

  • brutal_sushi

    This came out of nowhere! Love albums that do this… It sounds like Kauan going more traditional doom… Really digging the example above. I want to dig deeper into this one…

  • I love parts of what these guys are doing. But I was completely convinced that they were a crispy rock band. “End of the Third Day” “Father’s Will” and the praying kid on the cover? SCREAMS preachy Christian rock.

    I find this whole thing confusing. And to quote characters from a Disney film: “We don’t like what we don’t understand in fact it scares and this [album cover] is dangerous indeed!”

    • The cover strikes me as a third rate Creed wannabe band. Luckily I heard the music before I saw the art.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      I get bad christian pamphlet art, the sort of thing put together by weird old people who don’t think young people should have sex.I find this art just too hard to get past. Its a big pass for me, in fact I’ve pretty much written the band off as a result

      • Don’t do that. This is a really good album. Loads of mood and downer melody.

      • It’s worth listening to if you like depressing doom. Great.

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          When the steel druhm beats 4 outta 5 and gives a write up like above Im almost always in… but in this case the artwork, album and song titles ring alarm bells of an undisclosed christian / lame western spirituality, which quite frankly makes my head rotate spew green bile.
          The embedded song admittedly displays a level of excellence in regards to it’s production, performance and composition, and I can totally get why people will love this. Though for me theres a sense sophistry and a preachy tone about this that I cant shake.
          Slick as it is this song is, it feels constrained by an FM radio morality, while other artists (in the same medium) like Doom VS, Triptykon, Avatarium, Allunah, YOB, Pallbearer, Earth and even Opeth arn’t… So with artists like the above releasing music I hardly need to worry about a suspiciously preachy band with creepy christian/ religious artwork.

          • I only gave it a 3.5, but I almost gave it a 4.0.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            Im .5 less motivated now

    • Kronos

      Why is this so good?

      • Well thought out, very atmospheric doom with enough melody to keep it interesting and not boring.

        • Kronos

          Should go on their promo blurb:
          “interesting and not boring.” – Steel Druhm

      • I think the songwriting is really solid, but it needs more extremity. I enjoyed it, wanted to re-listen to it, got caught on melodies and thoughts.

    • Feytalist

      Huh. To me the cover looks more like “Where the Wild Things Are” than Christian rock. And that’s an excellent topic for metal.

      • Link D. LeonhⒶrt V.

        i’ll buy that!!

  • Grymm

    That song is amazing.

    That cover? Not so much.

  • Be really neat if it was on Spotify.

  • Doomdeathrosh

    The album art with its kneeling(among other things) may seem ‘christian-rock’y, but i must say the song here is near-perfect doom metal brilliance! if the entire album is something similar then i wont complain!

  • basenjibrian

    If it is the same band, I really liked their album “Grey Universe” from 2009. I wouldn’t call that album preachy, really. More “mournful in a Primordial kind of way” vibe.

    • Yep, same band.

      • basenjibrian

        Excellent. That album was in heavy rotation for me. I like the vocals quite a bit.
        This new one is not on iTunes, yet, but will keep an eye out!

  • James Ingold

    Your grammar in the last sentence is a bit off. It should read “Enjoy of deep sadness”.