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The Autumn Offering - "The Autumn Offering" (CD)

The Autumn Offering - "The Autumn Offering" CD cover image

"The Autumn Offering" track listing:

1. Cotton Shooter (0:34)
2. Synapse (2:53)
3. Born Dead (3:56)
4. Exhale The Locusts (4:01)
5. Fed To The Lions (4:28)
6. Hessian Blade (3:25)
7. Death Mask (3:31)
8. Viral (3:15)
9. Among Wolves (2:56)
10. Bloodlust (4:02)
11. Myriad Black (4:02)

Reviewed by on August 30, 2010

"...sensing the recent backlash against all things ’core, The Autumn Offering has moved mostly to death metal on the fifth studio long-player, following the technical death and deathcore movements."

The Autumn Offering is a pretty trendy band. Their first four albums were slightly-above-average to excellent slabs of metalcore released in the mid-oughts, borrowing evenly from Iron Maiden and Pantera (check 2006’s “Embrace The Gutter” for their most outstanding effort). This Daytona Beach-based outfit made their hay previously with three key elements: searing twin guitars, a knack for arranging exciting songs, and strong vocals that were more than just screaming - both brutal and emotive. Now, however, sensing the recent backlash against all things ’core, The Autumn Offering has moved mostly to death metal on the fifth studio long-player, following the technical death and deathcore movements. And just like other trendy things that were big mistakes - skinny jeans, sweater-dresses, “The Jersey Shore” - this is something that the Autumn Offering just should not have done.

The self-titled release is full of triggered double-kick drums and blast beats, guitars that are buried in a pit of death metal riffs, and vocals that switch between deep throat-gargling muck, high-pitched shrieks, and clean junk. “Synapse,” the first proper song on the album, is a misguided mess. The vocals are mostly garbled rumbles, the guitars have left everything that made them great behind (namely the searing layered riffs and leads) for speedy a-tonal noise, the drums are Pro-Tools flat, and the breakdown at the end is just excruciating as it keeps slowing down. Just end already! The next cut, “Born Dead,” has Chris Barnes-style vocals right off the top and we are in for another rough death metal ride; at least we get a hint of layered leads right at the end.

The best moments happen when The Autumn Offering play what they are good at: metalcore. “Exhale The Locusts” has a syncopated groove, hooks with a bit of bite, and guitar leads that make it a distinct improvement. “Death Mask” has some good riffs, solid breakdowns, and choruses that reel us in with fists (tentatively) in the air, but man, that drumming just kills the whole thing – how many times can a snare drum be whacked for no good reason? Way too much, apparently. “Bloodlust” may be the best song on the album, as it is a good ‘core jaunt despite being buried at the back of the disc. The leads fly off the frets, the hooks dig deep and breakdown-fadeout is plenty heavy. “Myriad Black” is another decent piece of ‘core, and it even has clean vocals and an anthemic layered solo.

The metal society at large doesn’t need another death metal knockoff trying to be brootal. What we do need, however, is a band that is actually good at metalcore still showing us how great the combination of hardcore and metal can be. Conveniently, The Autumn Offering are good at metalcore and they aren’t much good at death metal. Unfortunately something got switched and this release has little of the former and way too much of the latter. Hopefully in the future The Autumn Offering takes a cue from Snooki and stick to what they are best at.

Highs: “Bloodlust” combines thrash riffs and good solos to be the best song on the album.

Lows: The death metal vocals aren’t great, but the death metal drumming is awful.

Bottom line: Successful metalcore band tries death metal and fails.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

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)