Autumnblaze - Bleak ©2000 Prophecy Productions
1. Someone's Picture
2. I Shiver
3. Scared
4. Bleak
5. So Close Yet So Far
6. Bruderseele
7. The Wind And The Broken Girl
8. Thoughts By A Weary Man's Side
9. ...And We Fall

So if you're one of those folks who is having quite the hard time waiting for Katatonia to release a follow up to Tonight's Decision, perhaps you should pay attention to the following review of Germany's Autumnblaze, who outdo Katatonia at their own game on Bleak.

As the album's title suggests, Autumnblaze's sound is indeed bleak. You could also suggest miserable, morose, depressed, gloomy, saddened, unhappy and even teary-eyed. Without a doubt the band's sound comes across as very familiar to anyone who has heard the past two Katatonia albums and while similar, Autumnblaze isn't a ripoff of Sweden's saddest boys. Vocalist Eldron's tone is not far off from Jonas Renske's pathos trip, but Eldron sounds more comfortable in his role of painfully uttering his lyrics. His vocals are clean throughout, with a couple exceptions of agonized screeching being run through some vocal processors in the latter part of the album. The guitars are very obviously in the same slow riff oriented patterns that Blackheim has been playing for all eternity in Katatonia. However, Autumnblaze is prone to exploring softer moments and allow the music to occasionally boil down to its bare bones. There are occasional bits of electronics in the mix as well.

Bleak is a very consistent and satisfying album. I've found myself playing this on a nearly nightly basis since receiving it. Autumnblaze may indeed be running with the Katatonia comparisons, but they add their own identity and perform their songs with such conviction that the end result is a great, depressing and melancholy record that avoids falling into the melodramatic trap.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/2000

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