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Autumn’s Child – Zenith

Autumn’s Child
Zenith
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 17 February 2022, 2:59 PM

January 2022 sees AUTUMN’S CHILD returning with album number three, "Zenith", this time via Pride & Joy Music. “Zenith” was produced by Erlandsson & Claes Andreasson, mixed and mastered by Mikael Andersson at Soundport Studios, Sweden; drums recorded by Mikael Andersson at Soundport Studios. The album contains eleven tracks. I am always fascinated by the AOR genre, for it brings many great names to the music scene of today. But, at the same time, I am always equally guarded, as it is so hard for this genre to be done right, since this style has existed for many, many years. Let’s find out how the band does.

“Emergency” leads off the album. It opens with a big keyboard and guitar presence, followed by galloping guitar riff. The vocalist has a raspy but expansive range, and the extended lead trade-offs from guitar and keys showcase their musicianship. “Evangeline” begins with another heavy hand from keyboards, which are a staple in the genre. Erlandsson hunkers down and gives a memorable vocal performance. The hooks here are insatiable. What a glorious song! “Nightingale” begins with a more pensive sound from acoustic guitars and soaring vocal harmonies. So far this album is hitting the mark on all cylinders.

“Never Say Die” is a tough, anthemic song that opens with solos in the guitars and keyboards. The chorus is thick and rich as it should be in the genre. “Heaven Can Wait” is the power ballad on the album, opening with soft and charming vocals and a bit of sadness. The real power comes with the harmonies in the chorus. They are more layered than a wedding cake. The guitar solo is also very soulful and follows the melody line well. “Angel of Danger” brings the album back to full rocking status, with a quicker pace and some mysterious tones. Watch out for the guitar solo in this song. Pontus is capable of full shredding but he chooses to follow the melodies more in his playing.

“High on Love” is another memorable song on the album, and one of my favorites. Melodies abound in both the verses and the chorus. But it’s the chorus in particular where they really nail you hard with gargantuan hooks. “Don’t Wanna” is another burning track that runs quickly through the verses and then opens up in the chorus with another big, memorable hook. The vocals are edgy as well. “Damaged Goods” closes the album. It’s a breezy and easy listening closing song, though perhaps a personal tale of overcoming one’s demons. The hooks here aren’t as big but they are still just as effective.

Big, melodious hooks? Check. A fantastic singer? Check. A thick and meaty mid-section of guitars, keys and bass? Check. Intelligent and memorable songwriting? Check. This album has all of these elements and then some. The hooks aren’t necessarily ones that you haven’t heard before, but the band performs them with unbridled energy and enthusiasm, and they are very memorable. It is easy to fall in love with this music.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Emergency
2. Evangeline
3. Love is a Fighter
4. Nightingale
5. Never Say Die
6. Heaven Can Wait
7. Angel of Danger
8. High on Love
9. Crowdpleaser
10. Don’t Wanna
11. Damaged Goods
Lineup:
Michael Erlandsson – Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars
Pontus Åkesson – Lead Guitars
Robban Bäck – Drums
Claes Andreasson – Piano
Magnus Rosen – Bass
Record Label: Pride & Joy Music
     


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