Autumn Tears - The Glow of Desperation
Dark Symphonies
Neoclassical darkwave
15 songs (62'11")
Release year: 2021
Autumn Tears, Dark Symphonies
Reviewed by Alex

Last time I have reviewed an album for the Massachusetts darkwave outfit Autumn Tears, The Hallowing, their 2007 release, I was signing it endless praises. Still neoclassical and gothic darkwave, Ted Tringo & Co, managed to transcend themselves above synthetic gothic darkness and release a classical music album, yet full of dark emotions. Bringing in actual symphonic instruments and a number of trained vocalists lifted the bar for Autumn Tears class and sound. I even promised not to wait a couple of years to buy the next Autumn Tears album, which was kind of a habit of mine, but pursue it upon its release.

And then Autumn Tears disappeared off the scene for more than a decade. I obviously lost track of the collective, and didn’t even know 2018 saw the band’s resurrection, while 2019 and 2020 saw back-to-back full-length releases, Colors Hidden Within the Grey and The Air Below the Water, respectively. I have not heard a note from these albums until this year’s The Glow of Desperation fell into my lap. Excited, and full of high expectations, I was expecting to immerse myself into the mesmerizing world of Autumn Tears again. Several listens through more than an hour long The Glow of Desperation I have to report that the feeling of total embrace for the album never came. I will explain my reasons, but those who counted themselves as Autumn Tears fans, or like neoclassical darkwave in general, are welcome to form their own opinions.

Just like a tiger wouldn’t change his stripes Autumn Tears is not deviating from their art on The Glow of Desperation. The band is still where I left them in terms of classical instruments use and vocals quality and variety. Violins & cellos dominate, I hear less of clarinet & oboe (Stasis has some wind instruments), and ever present piano stitches the fabric of every composition together. Some/most compositions, just like in the past, have female sopranos leading the way, there is probably more than one vocalist here, and some others (Throw It Over, Human Artifact) have a male joining in a duet or leading alone. The Glow of Desperation is, no question, beautiful, but its beauty is absolutely cold, disconnected and devoid of emotion. Its sound, very church chorale like, especially in the first half of the album, is more a masterclass at some liberal arts college on how to compose and perform classical music rather than personal emotional expression. And that is exactly the reason why I simply could not connect with the album no matter all preconceived notions and dispositions. Autumn Tears is very rarely percussive, so it is not a surprise The Glow of Desperation isn’t either. Only Cast Your Eyes to Behold Me has an impression of moving somewhere, and Throw It Over has an interesting combination of piano & cello combining as if in a riff. We Can Almost Hear Them has a potential to be a watershed moment, become more earthly and less pompous, but things settle back into the detached realm with only Human Artifact going for fuller orchestration, Wordless Waltz finally making an emotional connection and the closing title track finally sounding more like nature and less like church.

In all honesty, The Glow of Desperation is not the way how I was hoping to re-introduce Autumn Tears to myself, so not sure whether to go back and pick up albums I missed from the band’s apparent comeback years.

Killing Songs :
Wordless Waltz, We Can Almost Hear Them
Alex quoted 60 / 100
Other albums by Autumn Tears that we have reviewed:
Autumn Tears - The Hallowing reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
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