An Autumn For Crippled Children – The Long Goodbye (Wicker Man Recordings)

Thursday, 26th February 2015
Rating: 8.5/10

There isn’t another band like An Autumn For Crippled Children. They don’t sound like anyone else, and vise versa. That’s a big deal. With how many bands can you say that? Not many – or at least not nearly often enough. The Netherlands-based post-black metal band really is a hard band to truly place into a category. Depressive, experimental doom/black metal seems to fit the bill enough, but they’re a band that must be heard to be understood. These guys have now released five albums since debuting in 2010, all of them quality releases, and have honed a sound that pleases those with an ear for forward-thinking extreme metal and the seductive melodies of new wave/dark wave.

It’s a kind of controlled chaos in the sound here, intense drums bang out a myriad of interesting beats while layers of guitar pummel the ears with ultra-distorted melodic changes. The ever-solid bass work is very enjoyable as with all of AAFCC’s albums and is placed clearly in mix, deservedly so, contributing so much to the vibrant entwining melodies. Keyboards play an integral part of AAFCC and truly give the band the magic that they have. Certainly more synth than traditional keyboard, this element gives the band so much of its charm and infectious hooks. Vocally, the band again remains true to their sound, and never ventures into clean singing territory. One may think that this could be a tempting road to travel down, but singer/guitarist/keyboardist MXM keeps it real with his throat-ripping screams.

Maybe lacking a touch in overall dynamic, which is a minor critique especially when there truly are some dynamic elements on the record (the lull on the title track, leading off the record is an example, among others), the sound of the band rarely ceases to be up-front and aggressive, while being very melodic at the same time. In fact, more than intensity of play, it could be the instrument’s sounds themselves as well as the aggressive vocal approach that betray a rich sense of dynamics…but like I said, a subjective and minor quip for sure.

If you’ve yet to check out AAFCC, do yourself a favor and pick up this release – it’s one of their best. In a world so full of mimicry, we need to celebrate originality. Let us hope that The Long Goodbye is just an album title and nothing more.

An Autumn for Crippled Children on Bandcamp