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Surrender the Fire
Released: 2008, Self Released
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
I’m usually wary of the “one man band” concept when it comes to recording and releasing music. Much of the time it ends up being some poor kid in his mom’s basement with a 4-track recorder and a drum machine who’s ready to set the world on fire with his rage. So, when I started researching Autumns Eyes for the reviews pile, the usual flags immediately went up. Autumns Eyes is the Connecticut based brainchild of the one and only band member, “Dan,” and has been self releasing music around since the late ‘90s. Autumns Eyes latest release, SURRENDER THE FIRE, is a 5 song mini-release of goth inspired neo-black metal, not too distant from Dimmu Borgir stylistically. But here’s the interesting part of the Autumn Eyes story, Dan’s giving away his music for free. And the best part of the whole deal? It’s actually pretty good.
Autumns Eyes exists primarily through the band’s website, where the entire discography (save for a couple of exceptions) is offered up for free in Mp3 format. The site has some interesting merchandise options, some goth girl models, and a donations option to help keep things going. The presentation of the whole thing is slick and professional, especially in comparison to what other more established acts are offering up. But I digress, on to the music. “Greedy Demon Parasites” has a slow, eerie ascension to it before accelerating into more familiar black/goth territory. “Empty Bliss” is a faster, more aggressive number, while “What’s Left of the Flesh” has an intriguing gallop to it that builds into a formidable rhythm. “Feast of the Dead” is apparently the band’s new signature tune is the best track out of the 5 presented here. There’s also a pro-shot video of the track available on the website as well. “Mourning Palace” is a Dimmu Borgir cover that’s not too far removed from the original and not a bad effort in and of itself.
The vocals are familiar witch like rasps accompanied with some vocal effects, while the supporting instrumentation is good but not great. The drums sound dry and sterile, so I’d assume that the token drum machine was the percussionist of choice here, but in contrast the guitars sound full and clear – as does the overall production. The whole package is wrapped in layers of keyboards and synthesizers that fill in the sound where the traditional rhythm section is lacking but all things being equal, it sounds damn good for a self released effort. As the recorded history of the band is available for all to hear, it’s interesting to be able to listen to the progression of the band from demo stages to where it is today. There’s a lot of creativity and potential, and it’d be interesting to hear what a more rounded out rhythm section could add into the mix.
You’ve got to at least give Dan some credit for marketing his music outside of traditional norms and embracing the digital medium, especially given the state of the music industry as it stands today. Autumns Eyes doesn’t break any new ground, but you could certainly do much, much worse. Check out the band and check out SURRENDER THE FIRE, you’ll be glad you did.
1. Greedy Demon Parasites
2. Empty Bliss
3. What’s Left of the Flesh
4. Feast of the Dead
5. Mourning Palace
Dan - All vocals, instruments
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