Autumn’s Dawn - Gone - (8.5/10)
Published on August 11, 2014
According to a recent study, in which a San Francisco-based company aggregated and processed millions of publicly uploaded photos from all over Australia in order to calculate a “smile score” for each city, Wollongong was found to be the happiest city in the country. Safe to say, Tim Yatras did not get the memo. The chief concern of his fellow Wollongongites might very well be debating whether to surf in the morning or afternoon, and smiling incessantly all the while, but the Yatras household keeps a safe distance from the smile pile. An alumnus of a wide array of acts such as Woods of Desolation, Austere, Nazxul, Pestilential Shadows and Grey Waters – each one more despondent than the next – Yatras isn’t one to wear his frown upside down.
I usually take press releases with a pinch of salt but I have to say that Eisenwald’s description of Autumn’s Dawn as “a more refined version of Grey Waters” or “Mono squaring off with Germ and Austere” is pretty damn spot on. The similarity to Grey Waters is so uncanny at times that I wouldn’t be surprised if a few riffs and melodies from said band’s unreleased debut ended up making their way onto Gone. Like the aforementioned Grey Waters, Autumn’s Dawn plays a style best described as ‘depressive rock’ in that it sees Yatras and fellow partner-in-misery Anguish (Rise of Avernus, Germ, Bane of Isildur) distilling ideas from stylistically divergent but spiritually connected bands like Killing Joke, Mono and Katatonia into a bleak yet beautiful end product. Imagine the world-weariness of New Wave/Post-Punk filtered through a pop gauze and topped off with the urgency of black metal.
“Until My Heart Corrodes with Rust” and “Grace of the Grave” perhaps see the band showing their collective hand too bluntly, with the chorus of the former very reminiscent of Germ’s “An Overdose on Cosmic Galaxy” and the latter’s main riff instantly bringing to mind Grey Waters’ “Say Goodbye,” but this is a minor quibble, especially considering the truly great ebb-and-flow of the solo in “Until…”. The band’s palpable conviction in their delivery is the true strength of the album and instantly sets these songs apart from the detritus peddled by opportunistic genre hangers-on. Sinuous threads of melody are woven expertly into each and every track, perfectly complimenting Yatras’ vocals, whether it’s his angst-ridden (and very Britpop-sounding) cleans on “The Ashes of a Life,” harsh shrieks on “Grace of the Grave” and “Through the Rusted Gates of Time” or an airy chillout inflection on the title track. Regardless of the direction any given song might lean towards the emotional punch remains intact throughout, and, if you’re like me and you miss Grey Waters and wish that current Alcest had a bit more bite, then Autumn’s Dawn will likely be your new favorite band.