Sunday, January 20, 2019

Full Length Review: AUTUMN TEARS Colors Hidden Within The Gray (The Crypt/Dark Symphonies) by Dave Wolff

Place of origin: Billerica, Massachusetts, USA
Genre: Neo-Classical, World
Label: The Crypt/Dark Symphonies
Release date: January 14, 2019
Colors Hidden Within The Gray is an ambitious project, already one of the most ambitious of the year. Released a week ago, it features over thirty musicians and one of the most gifted vocalists in neo-classical, ethereal, darkwave and world music industries. I used to think Elend was undisputed when it came to transcending musical boundaries for the monumental albums they have released in their career. I used to think few artists if any could touch them, but listening to Autumn Tears naturally convinced me they belong in the same neighborhood. Colors Hidden Within The Gray is an album of such range and vision I wonder why they were on an extended eleven year hiatus and I wonder how far they would have gotten if during that time they continued releasing a new album every few years. It’s much like what would come of a collaboration between Elend, Dead Can Dance and Diamanda Galas, if they ever decided to work together, with Cradle Of Filth stopping by to offer occasional suggestions. This project is far too sizable to even be considered a band; at the risk of making this sound too exaggerated I’d say it’s closer to a small ensemble. By all accounts all the musicians involved in this album take their work as seriously as any full symphony orchestra. No expense is spared to push the envelope; we get a wide range of instruments including classical guitars, drums, piano, violin, viola, cello, harps, horns, trumpets, bansuri, medieval bagpipes and medieval percussion. The fourteen tracks involving these instruments are arranged with care and thoroughness, relying on their diverse talent without the need to attitudinize. I consider it a crime that Dawn Desiree Smith and Brona McVittie are not as well-known as the likes of Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil), Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation) and Liv Kristine (Leaves Eyes, Midnattsol). As two of the principal vocalists of Autumn Tears they certify that looks only get female vocalists so far and legitimate staying power is determined by talent. Backed by Nathan Nasby, Beraud and Jennifer Judd, they give this album the enchanting essence it needs to create something that’s less of an album and more of a pictorial design. Rarely if ever was the end of all things presented with so much artistry, elegance and refinement. The vocals and instruments are like creation itself emerging from this apocalypse, filling what was once an empty void with indescribable beauty. You have to have vocals like this not only to enhance the music but also the lyrics, which are just as integral a part of said design. The lines "Together we sing/Hymns to the chosen/Transcendent voices/Unravelling the stitches of time/We welcome our daughter of the universe/Behold... a goddess is born" from the third track "A Pulse In the Celestial Sphere Part 3 - A Birth In the Aether" are all you need to read in this review for a taste of the majesty of this album. The rebirth from death, and death from rebirth, personified here is a long process, proving the endless cycle of nature with feelings you don’t get to experience very often. If you’ve been made curious by these words, you really should acquire this release to experience it fully. -Dave Wolff

Ted Tringo: Composition, arrangements, lyrics, piano
Brona McVittie: Lead and backing vocals, vocal and lyric arrangements
Dawn Desiree Smith: Lead and backing vocals, vocal and lyric arrangements
Nathan Nasby: Lead and backing vocals, vocal and lyric arrangements
Beraud: Lead and backing vocals, vocal and lyric arrangements
Jennifer Judd: Lead and backing vocals, vocal arrangements
Brian Schmidt: Lead violin and string arrangements:
Julian Spiro: Lead violin and string arrangements:
Kelly Ralston: Viola
Luke Payne: Cello
Molly Leigh Jones: Cello
Terran Olson: Flute, Clarinet
MaryBeth Kern: Clarinet
John Clark: French Horn
Chad Bell: Trumpet
Victor Fuenmayor: Trombone
Tom Moth: Harp
George Ball: Snare drums
Germàn Domador: Timpani
Amir Mofrat: Kamancheh on "A Pulse in the Celestial Sphere"
Petar Milanovic: Trombone on "The Grieving" and "The Day of Wrath"
Chris Abeel: Cello on "Colors Hidden Within the Gray", "The Grieving", and "Another Day"
Christine Hardigan: Cello on "In Remembrance"
Charlot Rivero: Spiccato Cello on "Rainlight ascension"
Isobel Alsup: Spiccato Cello on "Colors Hidden Within The Gray"
Oleg Maximov: Classical Guitar on "The Impressionist"
Josh Plotner: Bansuri on "Drift"
Carolina Teruel: Spiccato cello on "In Remembrance"
Simon Blum: Medieval bagpipes on "In Remembrance"
Steeven Didier: Medieval bagpipes on "In Remembrance"
Charlotte Reckinger: Medieval bass drum on "In Remembrance"
Benjamin Wanschoor: Floor toms on "In Remembrance"
Mattias Borgh: Snare drum on "In Remembrance"

Track list:
1. A Pulse In the Celestial Sphere Part 1 - Astral Murmur
2. A Pulse In the Celestial Sphere Part 2 - A Stream of Higher Consciousness
3. A Pulse In the Celestial Sphere Part 3 - A Birth In the Aether
4. The Day of Wrath
5. The Grieving
6. Rainlight Ascension
7. The Impressionist
8. Prodigy
9. Drift
10. In Remebrance
11. The Earth Song
12. Colors Hidden Within The Gray
13. What We Have Become
14. Another Day

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