(Note: this review will be today’s only NCS post, because of Blog Break.)
Autolatry is a black metal band from eastern Connecticut whose music is devoted to stories about the New England wilderness and New England history. In late 2010, they released a debut album entitled The Hill, which I haven’t heard. And then in February of this year they released the subject of this review, an EP called Of the Land. Both releases can be downloaded on Bandcamp (here) with a “name your price” option.
Given the lyrical themes of Autolatry’s music, the title of this most recent EP, the names of the four songs it includes, and even the cover art, you might assume that Autolatry is some kind of New England version of Agalloch — but for the most part you would be wrong. Though you might pick out a bit of Agalloch influence here and there, the four songs on Of the Land turn out to be a surprising mix of styles, with no two songs quite alike.
The opener, “Mountain”, leaps forward immediately with maniacal drumming and a rapidly moving blast-front of ripping guitar chords. Sulfurous vocals howl malignantly and a trilling lead guitar spins a melody through the maelstrom. There’s a hard-driving, instrumental-only scorcher of a finish to the song that will get your head nodding, too.
“Oak” sets the hook from the start, with dense, chiming guitars and a super-catchy bass line. In addition to a cascading tide of tremolo melody, the song includes a relatively subdued melodic interlude that features a duet of acoustic and electric guitar with a Spanish flair (or at least that’s what jumped to my mind). Overall, it’s a rolling, rocking track that’s infectious as hell.
With the third track, “Stag”, the band shift gears noticeably, with a head-spinning jolt of blackened progressive metal. The two guitars play off each other in a leaping dance, twisting, twirling, and jabbing. The vocals also drop down from their typically caustic screeches into death metal roars at one point. Given the first two tracks on the EP, this more technically demanding and stylistically quite different song really took me by surprise — but it was a very pleasant surprise.
The final song, “Snow”, is built around a killer series of catchy riffs, with rock and punk rhythms and a swirling head-trip of a guitar solo. Once again, I was pleasantly surprised by the shift in stylistic elements.
On Of the Land, Autolatry have delivered a fascinating, high-energy mix of varied music. They prove themselves to be accomplished song-writers and performers, and adept at shifting stylistic gears without slamming into the wall on those fast turns. This is an EP that fans of Krallice, Cormorant, and yes, even Agalloch, would be well-advised to check out. Now, here’s the music:
July 12, 2012 @ Ralph’s :: Worcester MA
July 13, 2012 @ JR’s :: Philadelphia PA
July 14, 2012 @ Strange Matter :: Richmond VA
July 15, 2012 @ Blue Nile :: Harrisonburg VA
July 16, 2012 @ The Hideaway :: Johnson City TN
July 17, 2012 @ Axemanor :: Raleigh NC
July 18, 2012 @ The Courtroom :: Rock Hill SC
July 19, 2012 @ The Black Lodge :: Winston-Salem NC
July 20, 2012 @ The Get Down :: Asheville NC
July 21, 2012 @ The Radio Room :: Greenville SC
July 22, 2012 @ Conundrum Music Hall :: West Columbia SC
July 23, 2012 @ Shantytown Pub :: Jacksonville FL
July 25, 2012 @ The Peacock Room :: Orlando FL
July 26, 2012 @ The Brass Mug :: Tampa FL
July 27, 2012 @ Play by Play :: Pompano Beach FL
July 28, 2012 @ 1982 :: Gainesville FL
July 30, 2012 @ Siberia :: New Orleans LA
July 31, 2012 @ The White Swan :: Houston TX
August 1, 2012 @ Dirty Dog :: Austin TX Vex tour kick off
August 2, 2012 @ The Korova :: San Antonio TX
August 3, 2012 @ Vientiane Nights :: Amarillo TX
August 5, 2012 @ 910 Live :: Tempe AZ
August 6, 2012 @ Shakedown Bar :: San Diego CA
August 7, 2012 @ World Blackened :: Los Angeles CA
August 8, 2012 @ On the Y :: Sacramento CA
August 10, 2012 @ Central Valley DM :: Fresno CA
August 11, 2012 @ Musichead :: Medford OR
August 12, 2012 @ The Know :: Portland OR
August 13, 2012 @ 2 Bit Saloon :: Seattle WA
August 14, 2012 @ The Hop :: Spokane WA
August 18, 2012 @ The Blue Pig :: Milwaukee WI
August 19, 2012 @ Ultra Lounge :: Chicago IL
August 23, 2012 @ Saint Vitus :: Brooklyn NY