Italy’s Crown of Autumn have been on the scene since 1996 and have been fine-tuning their sound ever since. Despite their lengthy existence, the band has only three full-length albums to their name with a fourteen-year gap between their debut and second outing. With this in mind, it’s clear that Crown of Autumn release music in a very deliberate fashion.
In the interest of transparency, I admit I wasn’t familiar with the band going into this review so I checked out their earlier work once I’d completed the initial listen of Byzantine Horizons. Doing so it became glaringly obvious just how much their sound had evolved.
That being said my overall take away is that it’s a decent record from a talented band but I wanted more by the end of my multiple listens. It could be said that it’s a positive sign, but a band that releases music in such a methodical manner you can’t guarantee when you’ll get that extra dose.
Opening strongly with ‘A Mosiac Within’, soft guitars make way for a harder riff which in turn gives space to double pedals and growls before a gear shift into powerful male vocals, and then the beautiful voice of Milena Saracino shines through. It’s hard not to give a nod to the medieval styling that is subtly woven into the tracks like a tapestry of the time period and the overall well produced and tight sound of the record.
This formula of contrasting light female vocals against powerful male clean vocals that shift into growling metal continues throughout the entire album save for ‘Lo Sposo Dell’Orizzonte’, which is sung entirely in the bands native Italian. Whilst this structure works I wanted the band to mix it up a little and have Milena lend her voice to a heavier section of which there a numerous. ‘Whores For Eleusis’ being one example of Crown’s ability to hit black metal assaults that threaten to ignite the tracks into burning metal infernos. Also standing out is ‘Sceptre and Soil’, which would feel at home on any doom album and ‘Cyclopean’ which reaches levels almost reminiscent of Lacuna Coil.
Byzantine Horizons has a lot to offer with these heavy hitting titles but I wanted the band to make good on the promises made to push the tracks through to a harder sound, a criticism that is to be taken constructively with it being so clear the band’s depth of talent. It could be argued this comes to personal taste and I know there will be those out there that will fall in love with this album.
Byzantine Horizons is well worth checking out for fans of male/female vocal combos and dark metallic sounds. The album releases April 5th on My Kingdom Music.