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An Autumn For Crippled Children - "Everything" (CD)

An Autumn For Crippled Children - "Everything" CD cover image

"Everything" track listing:

1. Forever Never Fails
2. Formlessness
3. Absence Of Contrast
4. We All Fall
5. Nothing/Everything
6. Her Dress As A Poem, Her Death As The Night
7. I Am The Veil
8. Cold Spring
9. Rain

Reviewed by on September 29, 2011

"The progressive elements and instrumental stratum lean toward shoegaze territories...while downtrodden paces, desolate guitar and keyboard harmonies express the despondency found in the depressive side of doom."

“Everything” marks only the second release in as many years for An Autumn For Crippled Children. This is an introductory effort for many listeners, this scribe included, but a Google search yields favorable results for these moody merchants. The progressive elements and instrumental stratum lean toward shoegaze territories - one of the hottest trends in today’s underground - while downtrodden paces, desolate guitar and keyboard harmonies express the despondency found in the depressive side of doom metal.

Without a blazing drum section, which some bands of this mold such as Wolves In The Throne Room often undertake, “Everything” stays in a consistent, tranquil slumber. The vocals are the only aspect that could keep one’s eyelids fluttering during nappy time, but lose their sharp edge under the veil of rich bass lines and enchanting keys. The distant nature of MXM’s voice shields the ears from lyrical understanding though, resulting in just another instrument in the mix. Other than “I Am the Veil” and “Rain,” which feature clean crooning and distorted growls (on the former track), the shrieking voices tend to drag onward. The group’s somber tones and poetic song titles contain ideas that are never grasped in lyrical form.

“Everything” isn’t an album meant for singing while driving down the highway, although it could be with more clean vocals. That being said, “Everything” works on different portions of the brain. Mood is the main selling point for An Autumn For Crippled Children. Each instrument seems to follow its own path, creating distinguishable layers that are somehow interchangeable. These instruments have a distance-creating distortion, which is audible, but at a separate location from the other instruments. “Nothing/Everything” is a great example of this with its dramatic keyboards and kaleidoscopic, swirling guitars. These guitars twinkle and fade like the lights of the night sky.

There is something spacey about the guitar, even without the neon-tracing pedal machinations that define so much of the shoegaze movement. The slower paces tend to drone onward, enhancing each track’s melancholy mode. Inaudible vocals, ringing keys and droning guitar wash the whole production in a sea of grey. Guitar and bass are part Burzum and part Katatonia. The guitar strumming during the heavier moments of “We All Fall” brings to mind Katatonia, while the initial hallow harmonies are steeped in shades-drawn despair.

An Autumn For Crippled Children is another band name to remember in the increasingly popular shoegaze/atmospheric black metal mold. Listeners won’t find the nature-worship folk melodies, but this album is rife with vibe. If you hide your day away from the sun, “Everything” is the record for you!

Highs: "Everything" features rich atmosphere for fans of Burzum and Katatonia.

Lows: The indistinct vocals lose any type of lyrical meaning.

Bottom line: "Everything" excels in atmosphere, but could benefit from more accessible vocals.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)