As Night Conquers Day

Autumn Leaves

Serious Entertainment, 1999

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


There comes a point when I listen to a CD that turns the material either towards the "I like this" or "I loathe this" and for Autumn Leaves, those moments come at the 2:58 point in the fourth track, "Empty Black Stare," of their recent release As Night Conquers Day. After some fairly typical death metal, complete with the annoying growls, the band actually slows down the pace and 'grooves' with some very interesting arrangements of a standard metal riff. The drummer throws in some syncopated double bass drums, the guitar throws in some whammy bar tricks and the bass rumbles a counter-melody to the brilliant guitar solo.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Now if more death metal bands could do this, I'd see no reason to bash the genre in each review I write about a death metal disc. The band knows they are death metal, they play death metal songs but they are smart enough to know that they don't have to be just a death metal band.

Sometimes this works sometimes it doesn't. Metallica is a prime example. They knew they are a thrash metal band, they play thrash metal songs but they are smart enough to know they don't have to be just a thrash metal band. Megadeth ( Risk), Anthrax ( Volume 8) and a host of others are following suit, releasing albums that pale in comparison to their finest moments, not because they've sold out, but the songwriting was weaker. And find me one flat-out solid guitar riff on Risk and you've done better than I.

So in essence, then, Autumn Leaves, with their cover art of an eclipse and dark images, are a death band. They play death metal songs but they are smart enough to realize they don't have to be just a death metal band.

The rest of the songs on the CD encompass many of the common traits of death metal There are the dark, growly vocals and the frantic pounding of a drummer who is able to inject intricate drum fills around guitar riffs that often crescendo and decrescendo within moments of each other. There are intricate tom-tom fills, much in the way Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) uses the pitch of his toms to accentuate the guitar and/or bass riff.

Aside from the aforementioned 2:58 point in the fourth track, there is also the hypnotizing song "The Present Past" which begins fairly typically as a death metal grunt feast before, collapsing into more of a thrash metal guitar riff.

Bands like Autumn Leaves come around rarely: talented musicians twisting their genre around into a new pretzel. Hold the cheese.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 1999 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Serious Entertainment, and is used for informational purposes only.