What happened to this band? My last memory of THE AUTUMN OFFERING comes in the way of a rip roaring American metal album called "Embrace the Gutter". It was a no-nonsense head crusher that may not have blazed any trails, but sure as hell left them in ruin with crunch, punch, and solid songwriting. Then I hear new album "Requiem" and a band attempting to progress, but that only ends up sounding like little more than the current middling crop of growl 'n crooners.Granted, I've not heard the previous album "Fear Will Cast No Shadow" and obviously can't comment on it, but then we're not reviewing that one, are we? Even looking at the heavy end of the album (and it does come with more than a few whiplash riffs and rhythms), "Requiem" no longer sounds like a band with a fire in the belly and something to prove. One only needs listen to the lethal riff of opener "The Curtain Hits The Cast" to realize the metal has not been left behind and is sometimes even attention-getting, yet neither does it clobber one over the head with a brick. It is not even that the clean vocals in and of themselves are a bad thing here; there are quite a few bands out there today that mix clean melodies with dirty metal and do it quite well. THE AUTUMN OFFERING isn't one of those bands. In addition to the cleans coming off as though they were punched in as an afterthought, the melodies are just not strong enough to stay with the listener for more than a few minutes after the track has ended. After the first few songs, the approach becomes formulaic to the point of annoying blandness, not to mention detracting from those moments when some decent ass-kicking is going on. The pop melody of "Bleed Together" in particular is just awful. I'd have thought that at least one chorus would have stayed with me. Alas, it was not to be. In the end, what it all means is that "Requiem" gets lodged right in the meaty part of mediocre, if that, and stays there for the duration. That's just not enough in such a flooded market. What a shame.
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