Autumn Tears - The Hallowing
Dark Symphonies
Postclassical/darkwave
10 songs (41'15")
Release year: 2007
Autumn Tears, Dark Symphonies
Reviewed by Alex

Patience and dedicated hard effort can grind everything, even stone. For over 10 years now Ted Tringo, the proprietor of Massachusetts underground label Dark Symphonies, has been putting out his vision of music, beauty and darkness with his experimental postclassical outfit Autumn Tears. Talking about open-mindedness with you average metal fan, the name of Autumn Tears should be front and center. Dark and foreboding, as metal should be, emotive, straddling the line between classical music and experimental ambiance, Autumn Tears never attacked the mind of a listener, rarely bringing in as much as a single drumbeat into a composition. For at least the last seven years of the band’s existence I have been purchasing their releases a year or two after they have been out, being more of a sideline cheerleader than an outright fan. And I am now ready to declare that with The Hallowing Ted has achieved the breakthrough, at least in my mind. Next album of Autumn Tears I am going to buy as soon as it comes out.

Lineup changes aside, on The Hallowing both the unthinkable and logical happened. As much as Autumn Tears has got to be Ted’s project, he allowed others to contribute, even if a song here (Canticle) and a lyric there. More importantly, and I guess funding limitations may have been a reason for this in the past, he has finally substituted many electronic and synthetic elements with real classical instruments played by skilled trained musicians. Why logical then? Because employing those instruments and shifting further into classical realm is what Autumn Tears required to make that next step.

Still practically drumless with the exception of a few snare rolls on Dies Irae, Yearning for the Tide and The Funeral Bazaar, and thus without an outright rhythmic structure, The Hallowing flows as a total freeform, enveloping, polyphonic and stunningly organic. At times more cinematic, almost sounding as a film score, which I personally liked less, the album does present several magnificent church requiems (Dies Irae, The Funeral Bazaar), setting the plank high for Virgin Black to match (or any other band which decides to write an all-out classical music album). Even more I liked the compositions, you can’t be calling these pieces songs, which demonstrated a little bit more dynamics, going through certain build-ups and crescendos (Thrush and Wake, Yearning for the Tide).

The individual instruments on The Hallowing are allowed to take turns leading. On A Joyless Occasion it is classical piano which caresses, very gently touching and twisting the melody. On Canticle a quick oboe solo grows into a lush and layered piece. Strings with oboe/flute wind combo fuse the skeleton of Keep Me Here and Spirit. Church organ samples create a cathedral atmosphere bookending the album with Dies Irae and the title track. And above this all, Laurie Ann Haus (formerly backing up Dawn Desiree in Rain Fell Within) rules with her magnificent soprano. Not overdone, not usurping the center stage, she is that white winged angel lifting the soul away from the body.

If mid-pace darkwave-postclassical fusion turns you off, do not even think about wasting your hard earned rupees here. On the other hand, if you are ensnared by Aesma Daeva and Long Winter’s Stare (those who are the fans know what I am talking about) will not find weak tracks on The Hallowing. Autumn Tears has made a leap and now is truly classy.

Killing Songs :
A Joyless Occasion, Thrush and Wake, Yearning for the Tide, The Funeral Bazaar
Alex quoted 80 / 100
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There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Sep 10, 2007 9:01 pm
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