posted on 4/2008 By:
Well, folks, what we have here is an utterly unremarkable, downright tedious black metal album that deserves to be quickly forgotten. Let’s just get that out of the way up front.
Should you erroneously choose to disregard the previous in favor of learning more about Striborg, you’d discover that this is Sin Nanna’s eighth album in half as many years. If you’re impressed by that, if you think that’s any amount of work at all, I’m guessing you haven’t listened to Striborg. This is the first album I’ve heard, but I’d wager that much of the discography varies little from what can be found on Autumnal Melancholy, mostly because things can’t get much worse.
First, a list of good qualities: the production. Everything on here sounds like how a black metal album should. Okay, done with that.
Striborg operates under the misconception that slow, horribly disjointed keyboards and guitars combined with an extreme preoccupation with repetition create good songs. For over an hour Autumnal Melancholy clearly makes infantile grasps at being ominous, but, unless Sin Nanna considers sleeping a symptom of extreme terror, the disc falls far short of its aim. The guitars drone endlessly, literally not playing much of anything. One riff trudges after another without rhyme or reason, seemingly presenting itself with the sole purpose of providing a background for the keyboards and vocals. If there’s anything appealing about the guitarwork, I sure as hell couldn’t find it. The various screams and shrieks that make up the vocals are mostly decent, but at times contribute their fair share of poor performance. The ever-present keyboards, however, are constantly abysmal. Constructed so that every note is jarringly at odds with the previous note, the keyboards do nothing more than contribute to a building image of juvenile incompetence. These random, ill-fitting notes are treated with the same fervor for repetition that plagues every other element of Striborg, making the songs almost intolerable. Ambient tracks serve as intermissions between the huge chunks of boring, but do little more than bore you in shorter durations.
The best part of Autumnal Melancholy, as far as musical content is concerned, is the drums. Reminiscent of enjoyable metal, the drums are your crappy wood plank in a sea of suck. Nothing about them is good, so to speak, but when you’re traversing through Striborg territory commonplace musical elements are a godsend. My favorite parts of the album are the occasional double bass drum rolls of the “The Void and Cloudless Sky,” and the momentary blastbeat in “Meandering in Sorrow,” though the latter is ruined by some particularly awful vocals. Let me stress that: throughout an entire hour of music, a double bass drum roll and a single blastbeat are the most interesting components.
While, as a whole, Autumnal Melancholy isn’t offensively bad, it has an overwhelming absence of any positive qualities. Its endeavor to scare and unsettle fails miserably, at least until creepy crawly creatures of the night develop a tendency to scuttle around with tiny keyboards, plunking away without any musical talent whatsoever. As just a plain ol’ black metal album, it fails even more. Do not make the mistake of paying money for anything contained on this album, unless you harbor a fondness for purchasing items bearing a striking similarity to aborted fetuses.
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Embittered Darkness / Isles de Morts