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Autumn Bride – Undying Award winner

Autumn Bride
Undying
by Paul LaPlaca at 19 July 2021, 7:15 AM

“Undying” is the debut album from Vienna’s AUTUMN BRIDE and right off the bat, the album is a well-produced, modern mix with phenomenal drum and guitar tones. It’s punchy without being overly compressed. Very well done.

“The Path” is a straight-ahead rocker with some nice breakdown sections featuring piano and sampled choirs.

“Fear And Devotion” moves from a driving verse to an uplifting chorus with a beautiful doubling effect and harmonies. Vocalist Suzy Pointinger has a powerful voice with an incredible range in tone and styles but sounds forced on the harder edge, grittier passages. This is where she sounds most natural, a good mix of hard rock style with straight clean singing. There’s a perfect break with just her voice, clean guitars and strings where she seamlessly transitions from a vulnerable quiet voice to a powerful roar. These songs are catchy and hook-driven.

“Moonlit Waters” has a similar pattern and reminds me of Floor Jansen’s REVAMP. The infectious chorus is also reminiscent of KAMALOT’S “The Black Halo” album. There is an incredible break where they build up from a soft, classical vocal passage into a heavy section but take a cartoonish left turn into an operatic style that just goes a bit too far.

Shadows” is another solid, well-written song with just a touch of weird vocal approaches that are head-scratchers but not deal-breakers. At times the sampled choir feels monotonous but is a nice, background texture in the main riff. “Monsters” starts with a dark cello melody over a plodding guitar and drum march that leads to clean verse section. This is where Pointinger really shines as a vocalist, it’s really soft and intimate and lifts into a falsetto chorus that just floats above the listener. I would love to hear more of this realistic, dark, string elements over some of the more synthetic choir sounds.

The next song, “Ravenqueen” returns to a heavier approach and again I feel that the vocals are slightly forced and overly theatrical in spots but the chorus hook is transcendent in both composition and production with a thick layering and high gloss pollish. A haunting piano passage opens “Guardian Angels” with the melody echoed throughout the rest of the song and solidifies in the chorus hook. It returns again in a breakdown section at the end with a clean guitar taking up the melody over a pulsating bass and drum part. The piano takes over again but then there is a senseless modulation, an unnecessary key change on the chorus that is more 70’s pop AM radio in the US in effect than a classical writing technique.

“All Of The Lights” features a really nice balance between a gentle operatic vocal approach to a straight-up rock sound in the voice. “Forlsket” again uses a less heavy-handed approach and the juxtaposition of the more restrained vocals over the crunchy chunk of the band is breathtaking. This also opens up more of an opportunity for the vocals to have greater impact going heavier without venturing into a caricature of what a “metal” voice should sound like.

Overall, this is a fantastic album for fans of symphonic metal, especially if they are tired of the overabundance of operatic vocals from many of the bands in this genre. The songwriting and production are top notch and I would love to hear more of the realistic, orchestral elements in part writing and less of the choir sounds which are much more synthetic. The flaws are minor and something a trusted producer or engineer could help in guiding the band to slightly pull back in some areas. I’m all for the, “Let’s throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” approach and would greatly prefer a band to slightly go to far, than hold themselves back and miss the line altogether.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Path
2. Fear and Devotion
3. Moonlit Waters
4. Shadows
5. Monsters
6. Ravenqueen
7. Guardian Angels
8. All Of The Lights
9. Forelsket
Lineup:
Suzy Pointinger – Vocals
Alexander Schmid – Guitar
Ben Pauswek – Bass
Max Fingernagel – Drums
Record Label: Preiser Records
     


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