Rating:
7.7
Autumn - Cold Comfort
7 November 2011


01. The Scarecrow
02. Cold Comfort
03. Black Stars In A Blue Sky
04. Retrospect
05. Alloy
06. End Of Sorrow
07. Naeon
08. Truth Be Told (Exhale)
09. The Venamoured
10. Changes For The Bitter [limited edition digipak bonus]
11. The Mute (Inhale) [limited edition digipak bonus]


Having a girl in your band in the hard-rock/metal world is a strange thing. While it's stopped being groundbreaking ages ago, most record promo sheets try and speak otherwise. It's actually become sort of self-defeating, I mean, much of this promotion uses euphemistic language to basically say "Look! This band has a chick, but that doesn't matter, because she can rock out like the boys can!" A bit hypocritical isn't it? Constantly reminding us of the presence of a female, yet trying to convince us that the quality is the same (or better) despite this. Well, oddly enough, Autumn has to be one of the first female-fronted bands I've reviewed that doesn't use a female front-(wo)man as a marketing point, yet her voice is the most conducive part of this album.

Cold Comfort is a sleepy atmospheric rock album that has an extreme emphasis on melody, yet it's given enough of a guitar-based edge to hold appeal to the metal/hard-rock crowd. It's a gentle, dreary album. Honestly, it's probably one of the tighter bands I've come across in the past little while. In a sense, you could say it is pretty stripped down; the songs just roll in one direction, the keyboards and guitars blend into each other almost in perfect balance, while the melancholic vocals step through to become the centrepiece.

There's no punches pulled, wrenches thrown in, or curve balls thrown. Yeah, they really know how to write their brand of music with conviction, but without any distinct changes from song to song, this album can feel like it's hours longer than it actually is. Though, given the right mindset, enjoying this trip from start to finish still does not come without it's flaws. The musicians seem to lack confidence in some areas, maybe this is coming from a metal fan, approaching this with totally the wrong mindset, but it would have been nice to see the guitars take the forefront more frequently. There's enough interesting riffs, but aside from the solos, the guitars rarely step in front of the keyboards when they should. The second issue being the layered vocals that were used at a number of points. Marjan Welman has an incredible voice, it's maybe not of the over-the-top mind-blowing operatic variety, but they're distinct in their own gentle way, her vocals consistently operating on single track probably would have been a little more moving.

Ignoring how samey Cold Comfort comes across by the end, it's a pretty decent album if you're interested in some nice, rainy-day dreary atmo-rock.


Band profile: Autumn
Album: Cold Comfort


 



Written on 02.12.2011 by
Doc Godin
Former EIC. Now just a reviewer guy.
More reviews by Doc Godin ››



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Milena - 02.12.2011 at 11:55  
This is a really fine album, kinda like the previous two of Autumn, haven't listened to them enough to see which one is my favorite though.
I'm constantly annoyed about the thing you wrote about in the first paragraph; female fronted bands have become mundane, and when I go to a metal show, I'm far from being the only female in the audience, but yet the record labels constantly address females in metal bands as if they had to apologize and boast about their presence at the same time. I don't get it, as much as I don't get promo pictures with PVC clad and corseted ladies. The "sex sells" philosophy has become stale because of our overexposure to bodies (you can't watch a commercial for effin' cereal without a hot model somewhere in it) and surely there are other ways to look like a million dollars in your promoshots without exposing your boobs to millions of fans... or your grandparents.
BudDa - 02.12.2011 at 12:13  
I love this album. I have listened to it a number of times since I got it and its really grown on me. Marjan voice on this album is simply fantastic. The lyrics are soothing and deep. I didn't think i would enjoy this as much as I did/do. I prefer this to Altitude.
Susan - 02.12.2011 at 18:01  
I'm excited to hear this album. I do miss the spice that their former singer brought to the band (the album after she left was much more one-note) but they seem to know how to make good music no matter what. Doc, thanks for reviewing it; you and I seem to have similar tastes more often than not so now I feel more confident about picking this one up.

And LOVE the bit about female vocalists (or any musician for that matter) being made the selling point for bands in a hypocritical way. I sometimes consider writing a Craig-like rant article about some of these points. Love bands like Autumn though who just don't care what gender anyone is.

One confusing thing: you say her voice is "detrimental" to the album in the first paragraph but then near the end you say she has an "incredible voice."
Ag Fox - 02.12.2011 at 18:39  
Only until last year I realised the word detrimental is kinda negative when I thought it means something like determining factor lol
But yes, I should get around to listen to this
Troy Killjoy - 02.12.2011 at 21:38  
Would you say this is comparable to contemporary Anathema?
Doc Godin - 02.12.2011 at 22:44  
Written by Susan on 02.12.2011 at 18:01

One confusing thing: you say her voice is "detrimental" to the album in the first paragraph but then near the end you say she has an "incredible voice."

Yeah, like Ag Fox, I've always heard detrimental as being a positive thing in a way. Like he said, a determining factor.
Troy Killjoy - 02.12.2011 at 22:50  
Written by Doc Godin on 02.12.2011 at 22:44
Yeah, like Ag Fox, I've always heard detrimental as being a positive thing in a way. Like he said, a determining factor.

Nah, if something is detrimental it means it takes away from something's value, like it reduces the quality.

You'd want to say "conducive" instead.
Doc Godin - 02.12.2011 at 22:54  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 02.12.2011 at 22:50

Written by Doc Godin on 02.12.2011 at 22:44
Yeah, like Ag Fox, I've always heard detrimental as being a positive thing in a way. Like he said, a determining factor.

Nah, if something is detrimental it means it takes away from something's value, like it reduces the quality.

You'd want to say "conducive" instead.

Fixed. Thank you.

It's odd how you hear a certain word used in a certain context your entire life, it never really enters your mind that what you've been hearing is totally wrong.
Troy Killjoy - 02.12.2011 at 22:56  
Written by Doc Godin on 02.12.2011 at 22:54
Fixed. Thank you.

It's odd how you hear a certain word used in a certain context your entire life, it never really enters your mind that what you've been hearing is totally wrong.

No problem. I used to think detrimental meant imperative. So... you aren't the only one.
Milena - 03.12.2011 at 09:46  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 02.12.2011 at 22:56

Written by Doc Godin on 02.12.2011 at 22:54
Fixed. Thank you.

It's odd how you hear a certain word used in a certain context your entire life, it never really enters your mind that what you've been hearing is totally wrong.

No problem. I used to think detrimental meant imperative. So... you aren't the only one.

I've only heard it for the first time in this review, and it totally sounded like an okay thing. Now I'm scared the vocabulary monsters will come mess with my own at night.
albatros - 03.12.2011 at 16:05  
I enjoyed the description of the music in this review and think it is appropriate.

Maybe I misunderstood something, but I doubt that the musicians "lack confidence". They are all seasoned veterans. According to what the band said about this album in interviews, I think they wanted to go for this particular sound.

I had the pleasure to witness two of their album release concerts recently and the songs sounded live more guitar oriented and heavier - probably in the way that you would appreciate :-)
Susan - 04.12.2011 at 00:12  
Written by albatros on 03.12.2011 at 16:05


I had the pleasure to witness two of their album release concerts recently and the songs sounded live more guitar oriented and heavier - probably in the way that you would appreciate :-)


Lucky
dismaleuphony - 04.12.2011 at 06:27  
The only time I've seen Autumn was during their Altitude promotion at the 2009 Metal Female Voices, and even those songs were heavier and felt more guitar emphasized at times than the album, and after several chats with albatros then (and this past MFVF), I'm confident his opinion of the band's recent performances are accurate

After being mildly disappointed with the Altitude release, I approached Cold Comfort with a bit of hesitancy, which is really not the way the album needs to be looked it. Its greatness is found in the intricacies, and lots of the melodic shifts become more pronouced while following the lyrics of Marjan. Autumn has some of my most prized lyrics in music, and they yet again prove why on this album.

I like that you find a lot of redeeming qualities here, though I disagree on the confidence comment; they really do exactly what they intend to do, it's the mix here that creates a nontraditional feel, or an "un"-metal feel. I'm surprised you didn't mention the end of "Venamoured," since there the guitars take over with a minute + of atmospheric doom metal, which is really obvious in the mix. But yes, you're right in that this can feel like an album that's too consistent in mood - which means if you're not in that mindset ever, the album will feel less than grand. It just happens I'm in this mindset many times every day.

For me, this album is excellent, and it's re-ignited my love for this band, in an a way equal to My New Time, but in a more subdued, intimate way. I love this disc.
albatros - 04.12.2011 at 15:50  
Written by Susan on 04.12.2011 at 00:12

Written by albatros on 03.12.2011 at 16:05


I had the pleasure to witness two of their album release concerts recently and the songs sounded live more guitar oriented and heavier - probably in the way that you would appreciate :-)


Lucky


Yes, I feel privileged .. they have been an enormously compelling live band through all the epochs of their creative career. I've been following them for nine years.
albatros - 04.12.2011 at 15:58  
Written by dismaleuphony on 04.12.2011 at 06:27


...

I'm surprised you didn't mention the end of "Venamoured," since there the guitars take over with a minute + of atmospheric doom metal, which is really obvious in the mix. But yes, you're right in that this can feel like an album that's too consistent in mood - which means if you're not in that mindset ever, the album will feel less than grand. It just happens I'm in this mindset many times every day.

For me, this album is excellent, and it's re-ignited my love for this band, in an a way equal to My New Time, but in a more subdued, intimate way. I love this disc.



What a wonderful declaration of love !

The guitar part of "Venamoured" concluded the two release concerts ... I perceived it as an awesome psychedelic frenzy.
Slinky666 - 08.12.2011 at 05:38  
I guess with this album, the luck is on ladies' side. I am a bit jealous.
Susan - 15.12.2011 at 17:24  
WOW. Just wow. I'm finally hearing this. Cold Comfort shows a band who has found their sound. Altitude I believe was a bit of an adjustment period after the vocalist change and slight style change but Cold Comfort seemed perfectly where it should be. I'm astounded at some of the interesting and unexpected harmonies they have worked in; pleasant surprises all around. It may also be the strongest atmosphere they've yet created. Yeah, the songs rock and bring a new heaviness to the band but the mood is absolutely crushing.

Wow. I thought I'd like this one and ended up absolutely loving it.

Doc, seriously, thanks again. After Altitude, I may not have sought this one out w/o your recommendation. And now I think I love it even more than you do

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