Autumn's Dawn - Gone (Eisenwald)

Gorgeous post-black metal from Down Under.
Release Date: 
3 Sep 2014 (All day)

The first impression that comes to mind when hearing Autumn’s Dawn debut album, Gone, for the first time, is how beautiful it is. And this impression is only reinforced with repeated listens, whether it is in the appreciation of singular elements - the guitars, vocals, and so on - or as a whole.

Autumn’s Dawn can loosely be described as existing somewhere in the realms of post-black metal, and by way of comparison on that wide spectrum they sound something like Alcest. However, that comparison does not sufficiently do justice to Autumn’s Dawn creative originality. Whereas Alcest take you to another world, Autumn’s Dawn feel very much part of this world, with all its magic and mystery, despair and loss, beauty and tragedy.

The album begins well with opener The Ashes of a Life, which, until the screams kick in, could be confused with a great indie rock song. Things get more harsh, starting with the vocals, on second track Until My Heart Corrodes With Rust, complimenting the soaring clean vocals. The understated drumming throughout the album really begins to shine on Into The Cold, an instrumental number. Because the drumming is not always demanding attention, it’s possible that it will be overlooked. That would be a real shame because there is not a single moment of drumming that feels out of place. Drummer Sorrow also happens to be the vocalist, and he is clearly talented at both.

By about the halfway point, guitarist and bassist Anguish has established himself as the master of the mournful riff, and only continues to get better. Blank Stare, Dead Eyes is a particularly standout track when it comes to the guitar, a song also featuring the judicious use of piano and clean and screamed vocals melding together.

Through The Rusted Gates of Time could have been a Mayhem B-side, and is certainly the coldest part of the album. The darkest depths of depression and melancholy are sunk into on this song, reflected both musically and lyrically. For example, here is an excerpt of lyrics: ‘I wander alone/the freezing night sky guiding me home/to the one that I know/the one that I love/under the soil/no heaven above.’ Some of the most anguished cries and screams are contained here.

The final song, Gone, utilises a soft/loud dynamic, starting off with slow, melodic guitar notes and crooning vocals, leading into throat rending screams accompanied by twin guitars. The latter harmonise together exquisitely, one playing melodic notes at great speeds, the other low, heavy and slow. As the music fades away into eternity, it leaves the listener feeling grateful for the cathartic release this album provides.

Autumn’s Dawn cast an atmospheric spell on Gone without resorting to lo-fi methods, instead choosing to go for crystal clear production. There is a wonderful warmth to their sound, a feature which the Greek black metal band Rotting Christ pioneered. The lyrics deserve a special mention for being simple yet eloquent, infused with a dark romanticism characteristic of the great French poet Charles Baudelaire. Australian metal fans should be immensely proud that there are Australian metal artists of Autumn’s Dawn calibre out there. Gone is an album that takes you on an emotional and transformative journey that, despite a freezing moon or two, is filled with warmth, light, and even hope. It is a journey worth embarking on.