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Autumn - "Altitude" (CD)

Autumn - "Altitude" CD cover image

"Altitude" track listing:

1. Paradise Nox (5:31)
2. Liquid Under Film Noir (4:00)
3. Skydancer (3:42)
4. Synchro-Minds (4:20)
5. The Heart Demands (4:59)
6. A Minor Dance (5:25)
7. Cascade (For A Day) (3:54)
8. Horizon Line (4:44)
9. Sulphur Rodents (3:35)
10. Answers Never Questioned (4:02)
11. Altitude (6:19)

Reviewed by on February 22, 2009

"While 'Altitude' is a good tune, it is nearly identical to all the other mainstream light metal music out there today."

There’s always a lot of apprehension when a band replaces their lead singer. After all, vocalists can make or break a band – just ask Sammy Hagar and John Corabi. But in the case of Autumn, the newest addition to the group, upstart female vocalist Marjan Welman, may actually gain the approval of more fans. There isn’t a lot of difference in her vocal style compared to the band’s prior female siren, except perhaps that Welman’s voice is younger and slightly higher. The overall sound of their latest album, “Altitude,” is quite similar to previous ones, and Welman’s vocal style fits in well among the Dutch heavy rock band.

The band released the full album on their Myspace page, and the album title track, “Altitude,” has become arguably the most popular track. While it is a good tune, it is nearly identical to all the other mainstream light metal music out there today. In fact, most of the tracks are guilty of not offering anything new, perhaps with the exception of “Answers Not Questioned.” This one begins with a nice mellow intro and a soothing Santana-esque guitar, while featuring some powerful lyrics and a transition into a sound very similar to Evanescence.

All the components of a solid musical performance are available on “Altitude,” and the album will probably have plenty of appeal with old Autumn fans as well as others who like the slightly goth sounds of female fronted hard rock bands. However, with the exception of a mentionable grind style breakdown halfway through “Horizon Line,” there isn’t anything very noteworthy about the album.

The biggest flaw is that the overall sound leaves listeners with the impression that the separate parts were written and recorded separately, and then the album was recorded without making sure that all the elements mesh. The worst of this cacophony appears in “Liquid Under Film Noir,” where the drumbeat is too fast for the rest of the track, and the mismatched tempos only seem to get worse.

Another issue with the album is the often overdone keyboards found on many nearly power metal band albums. The sustained notes crate a lot of unnecessary distortion in the opening track, “Paradise Nox,” and by the time you reach the fifth track, “The Heart Demands,” you’re so put out by the keyboards that you want to scream.

Autumn’s new singer is a definite asset to the Dutch band, and offers fans of girl-fronted bands a good alternative. But the overall sound of “Altitude,” aside from Welman’s warm vocals, is less than impressive, and doesn’t stand up well against the band’s older albums.

Highs: The switch to Marjan Welman on lead vocals is a nice change.

Lows: Poor syncopation and overly synthesized tracks.

Bottom line: It’s a decent choice for fans of goth-inspired, girl-fronted bands.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)