Metal Blade Records
07 November 2011
by Jon Kerr
She looks good. She sounds good. She’s Marjan Welman. And she smoothes and caresses your ears over the heavy rock rhythms supplied by her band, Autumn.
Cold Comfort is the fifth studio album from the Dutch quintette and it’s possibly their most personal and introspective effort to date. But wait…. Smoothes? Caresses? Introspective? These be not words that we’re looking for here at Thrash Hits. But why not? On this evidence, a bit of rockin’ TLC could be something worth getting into. And besides, it’s not all balladeering – opener ‘The Scarecrow’, and later ‘Retrospect’ and ‘Naeon’ have a bit of pace to them and there is even a smattering of downtuning and grunts going on.
On this album, the band have adopted a more progressive approach to their well-honed soft sound last heard on 2009’s Altitude. The influences of Oceansize and Pink Floyd are apparent, but Cold Comfort is an album that is just as likely to appeal to fans of indie bands Caribou, Midlake or The National.
Do I have to go there with comparisons with other female fronted rock bands? Aren’t we beyond this yet? Ok…. Autumn are not poppy (like The Birthday Massacre), not industrial-ish (a bit like Otep), not gothic (well, not as gothic as, say, Tristania), and not as heavy as some (Halestorm)… They are a tiny bit like Theatre of Tragedy. Happy now?
For me, the lead singles ‘Cold Comfort’ and ‘Black Stars In A Blue Sky’ might give a good overall impression of the anthemic rock emotion on offer, but don’t have the immediacy of a song like ‘Naeon’ which is actually – dare I say it? – quite fun. This track could have been on a Snake River Conspiracy album (remember them?). Elsewhere, ‘Cold Comfort’ is fairly down-tempo. ‘Alloy’ and ‘The Venamoured’ are good examples of where Welman’s vocals are left to tempt, tease and story-tell as the band sit back and do little but support her performance.
Cold Comfort is not going to excite the average Thrash Hits reader (whoever that is…) but it’s not a record you can dislike either. It’s a new record you can chill to and get lost in. Those kinds of albums are few and far between these days, so that comes as some comfort.
Sounds Like: Oceansize, Theatre of Tragedy, Delain.
Top Tracks: The Scarecrow, Retrospect, Naeon.
Guitar Solo Rating: 0/6