Monday, April 1, 2013

Autolatry- "Of the Land" CD (Self-Released)

Snow, nightfall, and the woods are trademarks of classic black metal albums. Many bands intentionally evoke these elements in lyrics, album art, and absurd song titles. Some bands, like Autolatry, barely need to mention the colder, more natural side of black metal for it to shine through everything they do. While New England may not have the regional clout of Scandinavia, cold weather seems to run in Autolatry's collective bloodstream. With this brief EP, they show that they can hold their own with a unique brand of progressive black metal that seems culled equally from American and European influences, all with crisp, precise production, partially courtesy of the studio brilliance of the legendary Morrisound Studios.

"Of the Land" is a collection of four songs that reflect upon different aspects of winter in New England. Opener "Mountain" sets an aggressive and compelling precedent, and though it's my least favorite track on the album, it's still an impressive and enjoyable tune. Every member of the band showcases something unique here, with the drums being particularly on spot throughout the whole album. I find these tunes straddle a territory occupied evenly by Cormorant and Enslaved, with a healthy dose of tech-death influence that adds a certain aggression without sacrificing the black metal aesthetic. The riffs run the gamut from technical to textured and the cold atmosphere is relentless, even when the songs find their way into chunkier, more American death metal influenced territory. Autolatry's creative insanity works its best when they're moving at full-speed, with the occasional stop-start dynamic there to create the perfect tension for the band to break through. A lot of rawer black metal groups don't sound like they'd translate well live, but these songs sound both majestic and stage-ready, which is a nice balance since these guys always seem to be either on the road or gearing up for it.

Snag a copy of this album directly from the band and bask in icy technical mastery or download it for the price of your choice. They're currently working on a full-length entitled "Native," and I can safely say that it will be massive. Keep an eye on these guys before they take over the metal underground and be sure to get their stuff before it becomes rare collectors' items.

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