AN AUTUMN FOR CRIPPLED CHILDREN
"Everything"

(ATMF)

01. Forever Never Fails
02. Formlessness
03. Absence of Contrast
04. We All Fall
05. Nothing/Everything
06. Her Dress as a Poem, Her Death as the Night
07. I Am The Veil
08. Cold Spring
09. Rain

RATING: 8.5/10

That name — AN AUTUMN FOR CRIPPLED CHILDREN — never sounds any less uncomfortable to the ears, no matter how many albums of harsh, experimental beauty the Dutchmen release. Debut album "Lost" was one that could in fact sound harsh (the black metal aspects) and beautiful (the stunning, keyboard washed melodies) at once. What "Everything" does is take that firm foundation and improve the songwriting; not a major departure by any means from "Lost", a very good album, but a significant progression for certain. If anything, it shows that AN AUTUMN FOR CRIPPLED CHILDREN didn't just get lucky on album number one; they knew exactly what they were doing and just got a hell of a lot better doing it. A left turn from convention perhaps, but inaccessible "Everything" is not.

Call it ambient, black, experimental, avant-garde, scathing, and/or atmospheric and you'll be right; "Everything" is all of those things. And so are numerous other albums of the "black" and "post" varieties. What makes the works of AN AUTUMN FOR CRIPPLED CHILDREN far surpass the average are (1) the manner in which the colors are used to paint such vivid — and typically bleak and/or melancholy — images; and (2) the qualities of the melodies written. The very first track ("Forever Never Fails") offers a splendid example of the tightrope walked, one on which the worlds of black metal abrasiveness and serene tunefulness collide, and still stability remains. The elegant piano lines and a sweet melody that juxtaposes so well against the acerbity makes the title of "Absence of Contrast" seem even odder, though not surprising. What becomes more apparent on "Everything" in comparison to its predecessor is the band's knack for the precision threading of atonality through otherwise pure melodies; sometimes more of a flirtation that initially seems subtly, yet indefinably, off-kilter, until the schematics become clear with repeat listens.

The entire album is full of these seemingly competing styles that end up working in the strangest of synergistic ways, resulting in a whole that really is greater than the sum of its parts. A little English goth here and dash of dark indie rock there; everything has its place and none of it will preclude you from enjoying the quieter moments — or alternately, the aggressive ones — and ignoring the bigger picture, if just for a minute. But in the end complete immersion in "Everything" is a certainty and you'd not want it any other way. Worry not, as you'll be a better person because of it; well, a different one anyway. This is powerful stuff.

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