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Autumn - 'Cold Comfort' (metalblade) 4/5

I'll be honest and say I had never heard of Dutch hard / progressive rockers Autumn until this one arrived in my inbox, apparently its their fifth full length offering, and I'm beginning to wonder what I've been missing.

Over recent years I've become a little tired of and endless wave of female fronted so called prog rock that has become the standard prog fair in recent years. In essence most of it has been third rate post All About Eve neo-folk meets second rate Fleetwood Mac clones showing very little in either rock or progression. However this is not the case here and I'll be first to admit I'm enjoying this one very muchly.

For a start this album isn't pure prog, sure it has a strong progressive influence in places, take the nice 7/4 time signature section in Alloy or the driving synth intro on Naeon for example, but there is other stuff going on on this album as well. Opening cut The Scarecrow, has some nice old school metal riffage on show that conjurers up memories of cult NWOBHM outfit Runestaff, End Of Sorrow has an almost gothic vibe to it that sounds not unlike Karmadeva, Black Stars In A Blue Sky is a great hard rocker that brings to mind the likes of Within Temptation and the great Anubis. Sure there are folky moments, but they are less away-with-the-fairies, and more kidnapped by the goblins.

Musically this is a pretty well realised album. Vocalist Marjan Welman has a very pure and charming voice that has touches of the great Cathy Lesurf (former Albion Band vocalist) and it is used to perfect effect to both counterpoint the heavier and more complex sections on offer and to blend in perfectly with the quieter moments. The two van der Vaulks, Jens and Mats, on guitar are also just as versatile, be it playing driving riffs, mellow acoustic interludes or soaring solos they manage all with ease.

The over all effect this album generates is quite a dark one, although in places it can come over quite light weight it never looses the feeling of black menace that purveys through out all nine cuts, and to me, who is some one who likes hit art dark and gritty and hates movies with happy endings is a very good thing.

In short this is a very enjoyable album that manages to sit well between the hard rock, heavy metal and prog rock stools and will be enjoyed by fans of all those genres.

For fans of... Anubis, Nightwish, Delusion Squared, Within Temptation, Trillium....

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