By Jonathan Smith
Hailing from the Netherlands, An Autumn For Crippled Children absolutely wallows in the melancholy feelings that its music conjures up. At times, these feelings overtake the music itself, leaving a collection of songs that lack differentiation and that require multiple listens to sort out. How you feel about the group’s difficult debut album, Lost, will depend largely on whether you’re looking for an album that you can play in its entirety or an album that has stand-out songs. Either way, the album’s cover, featuring a group of dilapidated wheelchairs in what looks like an abandoned hospital straight out of a radioactive “no man’s land,” reinforces the fact that the band are in line with other acts who have adopted a combination of black and doom metal sounds and eschewed the aesthetic stereotypes of both. MXM’s vocals are almost an instrument in and of themselves, his shrieks sailing above the fuzzy guitars and drums and thumbing bass until the moments in which they threaten to cut out. The sounds on Lost are intriguing, but ultimately the album is boring at times. If you let it play all the way through, it largely blends together and passes by without leaving much impact. However, there are a few moments that are worth listening to on their own merits. One example is the title track — with its sorrowful keyboards and almost pinball machine-esque tremolo riffs, it’s one of the best cuts on the album. Another example is the closing track, “Never Shall Be Again,” which wastes no time in its pounding fury before slowly winding down and coming to a close with a wailing guitar riff and echoing effects. Such moments give an impression of the haunting punch that An Autumn For Crippled Children can offer. Overall, Lost should be a stellar album but ultimately it asks much more of the listener than it delivers. Here’s hoping for a more dynamic sophomore release.