Autumn – Stacking Smoke Album Review – MHF
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Autumn – Stacking Smoke Album Review

Autumn – Stacking Smoke

Album Review By Rainer Kerber

I experienced Autumn from the Netherlands already in 2005, in Hamburg as support for their compatriots Within Temptation. At that time singer Nienke de Jong was still on stage. I was thrilled with the unique voice and powerful sound. With Nienke de Jong on the mic three albums were produced, which I liked very much. Nienke left the band in 2008 and was replaced by Marjan Welman. Although the two albums that followed were not really bad, they did not inspire me. Later it was also very quiet around the Dutch. Until last year, after three years of absence from the stage, they made an impressive comeback at the FemME in Eindhoven. And after nearly eight-year break now the sixth album “Stacking Smoke” was released.

The first thing you notice beneficial, there are no unnecessary intro. Already with “The Phantom Limb” one immerses into gloomy sounding melody-structures. The quiet singing of Marjan Welmann fits perfectly. This is not quite as dark as with their second band Vetrar Draugurinn (a new Doom Metal band from the Netherlands). Very noticeable are the guitars. The compositions and arrangements are clearly geared towards three guitarists. I do not know many bands that also targeted work with three guitars (Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper). In contrast to the above, the guitar sound in Autumn is much calmer, yes, almost introverted. In “Old Fuel”, the guitars bang a little more without attracting much of the pace. “Blackout” is then at times a little faster and rockier. This is later surpassed by “Thursday”. Here, Autumn build a bridge to the early phase of the band. “Thursday” is for me the musical highlight of the album. The conclusion of the album is a tetralogy called “Forging Tempest”. These four thematically related songs are probably the artistic highlight. With the various melody, tempo and rhythm changes, they are already quite progressive. Outstanding here is the ballad “Shift to Silence”. Bands like Oceansize, The Gathering or Pink Floyd are also mentioned as inspiring examples. Examples not in the sound, but in the song structures.

I have to say, Autumn 2019 I like as much as Autumn 2005. Of course “Stacking Smoke” sounds different than “Summer’s End” (2004). With “Stacking Smoke” the Dutch have achieved a mature and atmospheric album. On their Facebook page, the musicians describe themselves as “heavy headstrong rock collective”. And “headstrong” describes the sound exactly. Is that Doom, is that Metal, is that Rock? A taste of everything. Autumn have found their own niche in the world of rock / metal. With “Stacking Smoke” they are back impressively.

Autumn at Bandcamp: https://autumn-band.bandcamp.com/album/stacking-smoke

Lineup:

Marjan Welman – Vocals
Jan Munnik – Piano, Synths, Samples
Mats van der Valk – Guitars
Jens van der Valk – Guitars
Ronald Landa – Guitars
Maurice van der Es – Bass
Jan Grijpstra – Drums

Label: Painted Bass Records

Out: January 24th 2019

Playing time: 56:47

Track list:

  • The Phantom Limb
  • Old Fuel
  • Stacked Smoke
  • Blackout
  • Cyanide Sky
  • Where The River Ends
  • Thursday
  • Fury [Forging Tempests part I]
  • Shadow North [Forging Tempests part II]
  • Shift to Silence [Forging Tempests part III]
  • Beacon [Forging Tempests part IV]

Rating : 8/10

MHF Magazine/Rainer Kerber

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