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ColdWorld – Autumn

by Erika Kuenstler at 28 September 2016, 10:33 AM

Few débuts have captivated me more than the haunting desolation and pain encapsulated in COLDWORLD's EP “TheStarsAreDeadNow” and the first full-length “Melancholie²”. But that release was eight long years ago now, and finally there is a much anticipated veritable kick of life from this German solo project. However, “Autumn” is a completely different sound; gone is the searingly exquisite pain, replaced by a more uplifting flair. Here, soaring melodies take wing through majestic celestial soundscapes. Morphing from the realms of Depressive Black Metal to more Atmospheric realms, “Autumn” incorporates almost Post-Rock phases and Folky moods into the melodies, resulting in a multifaceted release that will likely be an unexpected direction for many fans.

Starting off with “Scars”, a simplistic tune swells and bursts into a warm and fuzzy melody sweeps over us, like washing waves upon a tranquil shore. Right from the beginning, the differences between this and earlier works are immediately apparent: lighter, more jovial notes are interwoven into the sonic tapestry, rounding everything off with an optimistic air. “Void” does have slightly more of the biting melancholy for which COLDWORLD is known, with a slow-paced haunting atmosphere, offset by soaring female vocals and harshly rasped screams. In contrast to this “Womb of Emptiness” has a Post Black Metal dalliance, with an expansive and cavernous sound echoing a slow and fuzzy melody and clean vocals. “Autumn Shades” weaves a yearning tale, although the minimalistic approach has been slightly overdone here, leading to a song that sounds sleepy and flat. Two instrumental songs, “The Wind and the Leaves”, a stunning and ageless affair complete with a keening violin solo, and “Escape II”, with its howling echoes, round off the album, providing much needed interludes. “Climax of Sorrow” drops the temperature, with a dark and twisted opening and anguished cries giving way to a dream-like Shoegaze-like haze. Here, the synth style we've come to associate with COLDWORLD is used sparingly to emphasise and enhance the Stygian undertow, carrying it over to the next song. “Nightfall” is perhaps the furthest venture into new territory for COLDWORLD, with an optimistic and bright melody that gradually expands and unfurls, like a delicate nightshade slowly releasing it's heady scent into the star-studded cloak of darkness, as rich and warm orchestral sections ensnare you, drawing you down into oblivion.

What is really outstanding about this album is the myriad layers, meaning that each time you listen to the album, you discover new textures and embellishments so delicately woven into the sonic tapestry that you had previously missed them. To be completely honest, I really didn't like the album at first listen and it soon faded into background noise. But as you play it again and again, you start to notice all the different refinements and nuances, and the album really grows on you. “Autumn” is just as highly polished as its predecessor, but coupled together with a clearer production which really allow the individual layers to stand out. Added to this is improved technicality to boot, resulting in a strong release that carries you off on its ethereal journey to the stars. I do miss the anguish, isolation, and frigid intensity found in the previous works, but cannot deny that “Autumn” has done an excellent job of balancing melancholy with hope, and spacey melodies with intimate flourishes. Definitely an album worth checking out if you're into your Atmospheric Black Metal.

Memorability: 7
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Scars
2. Void
3. Womb of Emptiness
4. Autumn Shades
5. The Wind and the Leaves
6. Climax of Sorrow
7. Nightfall
8. Escape II
Georg Börner - Everything
Record Label: Cold Dimensions


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