Well this is a welcome return and a (mellow) blast from the past. It has been 11 years since we last heard from neo-classical artists Autumn Tears and one could have been excused for having completely forgotten about them. I have got quite a few of their albums on CD including the last one ‘The Hallowing’ of 2007. Those who were into the band at the beginning may also recall their ‘Love Poems For Dying Children’ trilogy and the Massachusetts based collective who contain ex members of Maudlin Of The Well and Krieg (sounding nothing like the latter in the slightest) were certainly a group to connect to when one was hungering for something chilled and very much less extreme than normal listening choices. With past and new members united it is time to dip into the warm folds of 5 new tracks here which explore sleep, be prepared though pressing play may invoke periods of drowsiness for those who seek the faster pace of life.
The angelic voice of Jennifer LeeAnna immediately sweeps in and the patterns of the chilled and airy canvas of ‘Chasing The Void’ will immediately pull the heartstrings of those who like the sound of everything from Dead Can Dance to early Leaves Eyes. It really strikes as gorgeous and holds you in thrall from the start as you are drawn to the meandering sounds of cello, clarinet, flute, viola, violin and booming timpani drums; there’s nothing here in the way of more traditional rock accoutrements utilised instrumentally. There is however a symphonic feel bringing the neo-classical elements to the fore here and the music is certainly not without a sense of drama. ‘The Ghost Beside Me’ haunts with gentle keyboards and lilting vocal harmony sending shivers down the spine and with as it caresses with a lullaby sense of a phantom chamber orchestra. Nothing is over-compensated, the vocals are just at the right pitch and it is completely natural sound wise without a hint of pomposity. Although a fan of Dutch symphonic metal may well be enchanted here do not go expecting anything over the top in composition. ‘Breathing Beneath The Soil’ is left to gently bury the listener in the instrumental flow and the vocals are left entombed for the track. It is a chance to lie back and think of composers of old such as Bach, Brahms, Hayden, Mahler who are acknowledged as inspiration as anything more contemporary.
‘Shaping a Fragile Utopia’ is the longest number and having found the poetic lyrics published it is impossible not to read along whilst the music slowly ebbs and one wakes from slumber peacefully to the words “Another day comes to swallow the stars Morning takes hold and shapes the things to come”. Building up it rouses the listener but in a far more welcome way than any alarm clock. This is very much looking at the past before the invention of any new-fangled contraptions like that. The intertwined strings, piano and voice however are just what you need to face the new day. Bed time comes quickly with the final ‘Origin Of Sleep’ after a day of chasing butterflies this lyrically goes from childhood innocence to motherhood taking you on the journey like life’s rich tapestry itself.
Although getting reacquainted with Autumn Tears was not immediate the beauty of the songs got me back in that place after just a few listens and this is perfect music to either listen to intently and really fixate upon or simply chill and allow it to take you into the arms of Morpheus himself. Hopefully this EP will see the group back with us fully after an all too long slumber and for those wanting to hear more they have also just released a compilation of past material in the form of Convalescence: A Retrospective. Explore and be delighted.
(7.5/10 Pete Woods)