Autumn Hour - Dethroned

Autumn Hour are a great progressive metal band that are more rock than metal in the way they play their instruments. There's a lot of slow, acoustic passages here among sung vocals and lots of energetic riffs, but not too many solos like a band such as Dream Theater would use. However, their style is a breath of fresh air and their music will appease anyone who enjoys heavy metal or hard rock in general.  Hailing from the U.S., the band formed recently in 2008 and have had only a short time before releasing their debut, Dethroned. Dethroned is basically a concept album based upon the book 'The Singularity Is Near' by Ray Kurzweil. The book embraces the world of the science fiction and Autumn Hour's debut album does a good job at following the idea by making their lyrics and song titles surround the idea of man and machine and breaking their album into three conceptual parts: Singularity Of The Making, Endgame, and The Machine Kind, each split between four tracks apiece.

Dethroned opens up with a brief introduction that has some spoken words and a creepy ambient background. Then the music kicks off with "End User" which is hard, heavy, and a great way to give listenes a look at what Autumn Hour is about. Chugging riffs combined with raw, emotional vocals and catchy drums beats sound like something from the nineties grunge era like Soundgarden, mixed with progressive elements. "Techcceleration" is a more sci-fi track with the spacey prog track introduction, but eventually it turns more into a hard rock hitter like the earlier one. It still has the sound of the nineties, only this time the vocals are more power metal-ish in the way he reaches his higher pitches. "Here Comes the Rain" again is a little less heavy in the sense of the lyrical content, but the vocals and riffs don't really let up, just like the following track, "Fade Out," which also is an excellent rocker with plenty of groove and barely borders the idea of progressive metal because it sounds so gritty and raw, as do many of the other tracks scattered throughout the album. "The Past" is just an absolute knockout, especially since it includes some death metal growls near the end that are unexpected, but fit the song really well.

Not all the tracks on the album are raw, heavy hitters. "Unbelieveable:" is a slower rock ballad with the sorrow and grit of Alice and Chains or Ozzy Osbourne. "How We Were Supposed To Know" is easily the slowest track on the album, romantically slow, haunting, and sounds like one of the many slow depressing songs Pantera did in the past, like "Hollow" from the Vulgar Display Of Power album. "Transcend" is a slow track also, but it's more in the hypnotic sense because it sounds like one of the vocalists is using a vocoder to create an electronic drone that fits the sci-fi concept of the album perfectly. It's also got a few heavy riff chugs amongst the softer sounds so it's a good mix of both heavy and slow. "Rafi" is a melodic acoustic piece that rounds out the story of the album, where the clean vocals really shine in their depressing yet uplifting tone.

While Autumn Hour do list themselves as progressive metal, it would be better to think of them more along the lines of the hard rock bands of the times like Soundgarden, Revis, Alice and Chains, Ozzy Osbourne, and Iron Maiden. There is no filler here, only killers. Everything is performed well and with an interesting story behind the lyrics. The band does a great job at paying tribute to Kurzweil's book in the spirit of metal without making anything cheesy or overplayed; everything is arranged properly. Production, thanks to Rock Ridge Music, is clear and not under or over produced, with just enough grit to keep things raw and alive.

  1. Oblivion
  2. End User
  3. Techcceleration (The Machine Speaks)
  4. Here Comes The Rain Again
  5. Fade Out
  6. Unbelieveable (The Mind Speaks)
  7. Dethroned
  8. How Were We Supposed To Know
  9. Every Day (The Body Speaks)
  10. Transcend
  11. The Past (The Heart Speaks)
  12. Rebirth (bonus)
  13. Rafi (bonus)
  14. How Were We Supposed To Know (acoustic version)

Cyclone Empire
Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Apr 24, 2010
Next review: Soulfly - Omen

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