Autumn is upon us. Rain is pouring from grey skies, leaves are falling from the trees and there is a need for somber, heavy music. Décembre Noir provide for this with their third album “Autumn Kings”, bringing us some joyfully gloomy music in the style of Daylight Dies, Swallow the Sun and Ghost Brigade. So, you can expect solemn doom/death metal with deep growls, some clean vocals, some screams and a generally miserable atmosphere. With song titles like “In the Pouring Rain” and “Hymn of Sorrow”, Décembre Noir take the risk of pulling things into cliché territory, but the music contains enough quality to not consider “Autumn Kings” a piece of overly sentimental kitsch.

From the first sounds of “In the Pouring Rain”, it’s clear that Décembre Noir know what they are doing and they are doing it well. Every song on “Autumn Kings” is rock solid, with “A Weeping Sunrise” being slightly above the rest. However, this solidity is a double-edged sword. I would have liked to see Décembre Noir dig a bit deeper on an emotional level, so they could create something that really stands out. Now the album is lacking memorability and while it contains nothing below-par, it’s also lacking those unique moments that can lift the music up to the next level. Don’t get me wrong, “Autumn Kings” is a quality release and genre fans will certainly appreciate it. Just don’t expect nothing new and exceptional here.

(7.5/10 Lykle Thijssen)