Autumn - Summer's EndAlthough I was born and raised in this little country of traders which we call The Netherlands, I've never really felt like a Dutchman. Strange, one could say. All that culture, all that history, surely something must've rubbed off on my starlight self? Well, the answer to that would be: 'Very little'. I never watch a soccermatch (not even when the national team is playing), I [b]don't[/b] smoke dope and I am [b]disgusted[/b] by the sight or smell of cheese...
And yet there is something I never really noticed: the rising of the Dutch metalscene.
[b]Autumn[/b] exploit themes like mysticism, spiritualism and witchery in their lyrics. For a good book, this could be more than enough to build body. For a band, this alone wouldn't cut it.
Fortunately, [b]Autumn[/b] have that little extra something. The beautiful deep, warm voice of vocalist Nienke de Jong makes the lyrics come alive, be more of a message than just written lines: her accent varies a lot from an emotional 'storytelling mode' (like in [i]Solar Wake[/i]) to a warm, more powerful 'texan' country sound.
Musically, [b]Autumn[/b] is labeled a 'Gothic Rock' band. Their music contains traces of folk, nu-metal, a slight bit of heavy doom, recognisable by the heavy guitarsound and bassist Meindert Sterk's vocals and pop. Nice and all, one might think, but what is the difference between Gothic Rock and Gothic Metal? Well, firstly, a difference in female vocals can be heard in the case of [b]Autumn[/b]. Nienke's vocals are capable of remarkable stretch, though not classical like those of [b]Nightwish[/b]'s Tarja Turuunen, for example. As a whole, the music is more 'down to earth', less speedy and less related to heavy / powermetal, but more to hardrock.
Overseeing the entire piece, [i]Summer's End[/i] sure has some highlights. The uptempo chorus of [i]Silent Madness[/i] is a semi powermetal riff and it really appealed to me in that way, Nienke's vocals are warm and flourish in every song and the melodies are very nice. Some downpoints are there as well. Meindert's vocals just don't fit on this album. Some may find the combination just fine, but somehow it doesn't sound right to me. Also, the keyboard / synthesizer parts aren't my kind of stuff. I'm very picky at accepting keyboard parts in Gothic Rock / Metal related bands. Because they breathe out the entire atmosphere of the setting, they form the mysts in which a story is told. If the myst is too thin, the story loses its credibility. If the myst is too thick, the story is lost to the listener. I'm not sure where to put the passages of [i]Summer's End[/i], but it wasn't a perfect setting.
I can only conclude that [b]Autumn[/b] is like a star sparkling in the night sky: not always visible to all, but beautiful for the ones who notice it.
[b]Absolute favourite song: Summer's End[/b]
Nienke de Jong - vocals
Meindert Sterk - bass, vocals
Menno Terpstra - keyboards
Jan Grijpstra - drums
Jasper Koenders - guitar, flute
Jens van der Valk - guitar, backing vocals
1. The Coven (The Witch 2)
2. Gospels In The Dusk (The Witch 3)
3. Gallery Of Reality
4. Silent Madness
5. Vision Red
7. This Night
8. The Green Angel
9. Whispering Secrets
10. Summer's End
11. Solar Wake