Written by: PP on 15/02/2009 18:18:47

More or less every release coming from Metal Blade these days is marketed as 'the new masterpiece' by the said artist, and goth metallers Autumn and their new album "Altitude" are no exception to the rule. My personal opinion is, however, that the word masterpiece should be used carefully only to match those releases that actually are masterpieces, otherwise the meaning of the word diminishes. As you may have guessed already, Autumn's "Altitude" is not a masterpiece, quite far from it actually, which is why it puzzles me why the word must be used in association with these guys.

Granted, the band's previous album "My New Time" was at least somewhat of a breath of fresh air in the over-saturated female-fronted goth scene, in that although it put a check on all the clichés of the gerne, it was at least convincing and well written overall. For some indiscernible reason though, "Altitude" sees the band backtrack on almost every step forward made on the previous album. Lets start with the production, which is all too soft, not leaving enough space for de Jong's silky vocals to dominate the soundscape as should be the case with goth metal. The secondary effect of the lousy production is the lack of punch in the instruments, and as such, the beautiful landscapes that the band are trying to convey through their music fail to appear in the mind of the listener.

Then there's the worsened songwriting. "My New Time" had a couple of excellent songs like "Satellites" and the title track that belonged to the absolute elite of the goth metal scene, whereas "Altitude" only has "Skydancer" that fills the shoes left behind by those tracks (masterpiece word can be used in connection with them). The remainder of tracks seem content on blending together into one muddy mess; the only memory I have from the album even after close to eight listens is that some high-pitched female voice is singing over generic goth metal instrumentation and she's not doing it very well either. When an album has that effect on you, it's hard to rate it any higher than below average. Do check out "Skydancer" though, it's the one song where Autumn show the true magnificence of the goth metal scene when it's done right.

Download: Skydancer
For the fans of: After Forever, Battlelore, Tristania
Listen: Myspace

Release date 16.02.2009
Metal Blade

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