Wednesday, October 5, 2011

An Autumn For Crippled Children - Everything

Covers like this are usually a good indication of what you're in for.
While it might sound like some small town fundraiser started in memory of Timmy the octoplegic, it is, in fact, the name of a symphonically driven black metal band out of the Netherlands (we'll stick with ACC to make life easier). A dense and claustrophobic production coupled with trite keyboards, made it a surprise to find out that this isn't a one man black metal band, but rather a three piece (there are credits to a drummer, but I don't believe that these are real drums).

To get right to it, Everything is the latest release from this band. The album itself is  a very spotty record  that jumps from keyboard driven sections that are boring and over the top to dense, powerful walls of steel wool, shoe gaze-y guitars gone scary and forlorn. This sums up the first two tracks as "Forever Never Fails" is as poppy as black metal could ever get and then "Formlessness" explores a very post-rock influenced sound and, for the most part, lacks keyboards. Halfway through the second track reminds me a lot of Xasthur on a good day and Alcest circa Le Secret. This is a very powerful, and well done section that shows the potential behind ACC if they focused their energy on atmosphere and the guitar.

This is pretty much how the rest of the album carries on as the band jumps from silly, synth driven tracks that sound amateurish and over the top, to dreary slicing guitars, mangled screams and dense sections where they all come together.

There was a period in my life where I listened to almost anything labeled black metal and when I found bands like Xasthur to be the creme dela creme, with ACC I feel like I'm back there again. There are countless, forgettable bands that did what ACC do and have never been thought of again by myself, and there are others such as Caïna and Lifelover who have what makes ACC interesting without what makes them not. ACC do somethings right, but the merry elves keyboards and the drum machine really kill what what does work. The band would be far better suited to bask in dense, droning sections and pour out into post-rock like explosions.

The album leaves me thinking "well, maybe next time they'll get it right." Truth be told, I don't care if there is a next time. If Slayer went right from Haunting the Chapel to Seasons in the Abyss I would say "they had something going, but lost it somehow." What's there is there, and what An Autumn for Crippled Children have is nothing worth revisiting as handfuls have done it better, and continue to do so.

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