February 16, 2024

If you like symphonic death metal that is deeply melodic and epic in its scope, then Autumn’s Mourning is a band to check out.

Autumn’s Mourning are a relatively new symphonic melodic death metal band that formed in 2012. They took seven years to release their first EP and now finally here is their debut album.  There is scant information available about the band – Patrik Blomberg is the singer and main writer, and he is joined by two further Swedes and two musicians with British/Irish names. None of them appear to play keyboards which is strange given this album is awash with them! In any case, they have put together an outrageously ambitious 75-minute debut album much of which is built on melodic death metal cinematic sweeps but there are folk, classical, and progressive influences that rear their head too.  

Gates To Dismay opens the album in serene mode with a gentle rocking theme, mysterious percussion, and then a choral theme. This is just the prelude as the full band burst in with fast-paced drums and guitars. Vocals are both growling and clean. Here we are in the territory of bands like Wintersun and Mist Of Misery.  There’s a breathless pace and that is maintained in the next track, Child, which is almost a pure speed metal track with lovely symphonic key flourishes. For the following Void, the speed slows to mid-paced and there’s an amazingly rich texture as the heavy chugging chord progression is overlaid with layers of warm keys and soaring clean vocals. It’s epic and cinematic and one of the highlights of the album.  

The above three tracks last 23 minutes, and there’s a risk of overdosing on the epic tones. Many bands in this genre struggle to introduce any variety and become repetitive. But, Autumn’s Mourning cleverly mix the cards in the middle part of the album. Gloaming is a pleasant short instrumental interlude, and this is followed by another standout track, The Wandering Shade. This begins with a striking plucked dance rhythm. If the intention was to musically depict a ghostly shade tiptoeing around a room, then it succeeded! A theme emerges first on acoustic and then electric guitar, and the song gradually builds to a powerful conclusion. It’s a hard song to categorise but that’s not the case with the next track, Demon, that after a superfluous one-minute instrumental intro, is four minutes of violent death metal. OK, Blomberg amply demonstrates he has the voice to do this, but does it really fit in with the mood of the album? Personally, I think not, but that may simply be because I am not a fan of the extreme end of the death metal spectrum.

The band then come back to the epic cinematic and melodic tones with As I Wither which is then followed by the two longest pieces on the album. The Shadows Call is a ten-minute opus, full of memorable moments: the striking introduction on harpsicord; the epic rhythmic vocals at the three-minute mark that will have you punching the air; and the powerful unison playing of guitar and keys around the four-minute mark that is reminiscent of Uriah Heep in their prime. It’s got a strong progressive rock vein running through it, but perhaps not as much as the fourteen-minute song entitled after the band. Autumn’s Mourning opens with strummed acoustic guitar (a little in the style of Pink Floyd’s Dogs) and when the vocals come in, they are ghost-like as Blomberg sings mournfully ‘Is there solace on the other side? Is there a land where eagles fly?’. A powerful chord progression builds up and there is an inevitable epic climax with some impressive vocals, but for the last five minutes the acoustic guitar theme and vocal line returns (in an even more ghostly and resigned guise) as the song unwinds, ending with ethereal female voice.

Autumn’s Mourning is a brilliant track, and a great way to close the album…..except that it doesn’t close the album. There is instead a short instrumental, simply called Outro, that doesn’t really give the album the finish it deserves. Despite minor weaknesses such as this, Void:  A Spiraling Descent is a tremendously good debut. If you like symphonic death metal that is deeply melodic and epic in its scope, then Autumn’s Mourning is a band to check out.