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Arrival Of Autumn - Harbinger Award winner

Arrival Of Autumn
Harbinger
by Jon C at 22 April 2019, 3:58 PM

Hailing from Canada, ARRIVAL OF AUTUMN is back with a followup to their debut full length “Shadows”, released in 2014. That was an independent release, marking an early sound of the band developing itself.

The tides have changed however, as they now find themselves signed to Nuclear Blast records to release their next full length, “Harbinger”. This album marks a decided step forward and maturing of the young band’s sound, and it overall succeeds on a lot of levels. Metalcore isn’t typically something that comes to mind when you think Nuclear Blast, and so it’s nice to see the label branching out, especially with new young talent like this.

The album is heavy, pulsating, and chock full of the traditional metalcore riffs we love. But it also balances out with a quicker and thrashier sound periodically, keeping them from falling too far into the modern metalcore formula, and becoming boringly deriviative, a problem many other newer metalcore bands are currently facing.

However, with ARRIVAL OF AUTUMN in moments where you feel like a heavier breakdown would come with a lot of other bands, they instead swap in clean vocal choruses or melodic sections. I never want to bash artistic choice, but for me it made some songs feel more formulaic and was a bit of a momentum killer. Sometimes with straight cleans, sometimes with more of a sing-scream, and that actually really sounded fantastic in a lot of moments. Especially in “The Endless” towards the end, that entire track bangs hard, but the ending was crisp. A lot of the cleaner vocals really fall in the beginning and middle of the album. The opener “Hurricane On The Horizon” has some of the most straight forward poppy cleans, and so does “Witness”. All said and done though, the tracks with cleans overall succeeded, still having lots of heavy and chunky metalcore riffs, and brutal harsh vocals performed to perfection. The heavy definitely outweighs the poppy by a big factor, it just was a bit offputting at times (again, personal taste).

The back third of the album finishes exceptionally strong. The last 4 tracks,”Symbiotic”, “An Omen Of Loss”, “The Endless”, and “Apocalyptic” are my favorite part of the album. “Symbiotic” is maybe a bit thrashier and melodic, while the last 3 are more chunky heavy. All 3 had much less significant cleans however, which I liked. It leads into the closer “Apocalyptic” really well, which in typical closer fashion showed off a wide range of sounds and finished big. "An Omen Of Loss" was definitely my favorite song on the album. Some of the chunkiest and most brutal riffage, absolutely punishing screams, that track had me headbanging the hardest for sure.

More than any issues with cleans however, it should be said that the heavy aspects to this album all succeed in basically every way, and the heavy outweighs the poppy/more melodic by about 90:1 or more. And what they’re doing with the heavy riffs and occasional breakdowns is fresh and exciting, it doesn’t sound stale like you unfortunately hear a lot in metalcore these days. The vocals are an absolute foundational high point of this album. Jamison Friesen screams are on point, his scream singing is fucking fantastic, and to be fair even when I didn’t care for the cleans they were still being sung very well. If you’re into them you’ll really like them.

All in all, this is a solid effort from a young metalcore outfit, recently signed. I like their sound and approach to the music, and songwriting. Metalcore as a subgene has worn thin in many ways, and needs to progress in order to surive. I like what ARRIVAL OF AUTUMN is doing in that regard. I also think it benefits them to be signed to a label like Nuclear Blast that is not known for metalcore, so that's cool. I look forward to hearing more, but in the meantime “Harbinger” is an album that is definitely worth checking out for metalcore fans.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production : 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Hurricane On The Horizon
2. End Of Existence
3. Witness
4. The Horror
5. Old Bones - New Blood
6. Better Off Without
7. Symbiotic
8. An Omen Of Loss
9. The Endless
10. Apocalyptic
Lineup:
Brendan Anderson - Guitar
Jamison Friesen - Vocals
Ty Fox - Drums
Ryan Sorensen - Guitar
Kevin Student - Bass
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
     


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Edited 18 July 2019
 

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