November 15, 2007 | , | 3

The Autumn Offering, Fear Will Cast No Shadow

Major line-up changes, such as replacing your lead singer, will invariably affect the band’s sound — no matter how that band tries to convince us otherwise. More often than not, a group going through these changes sees it as an opportunity to reinvent themselves and not just mold their sound to accept the new vocal delivery. We’ve seen it in recent years from the likes of All Shall Perish, A Perfect Murder and now The Autumn Offering.

Their last release, Embrace the Gutter, was raw, heavy and with a moderate amount of melody thrown in for that extra something. Then vocalist Dennis Miller had a more straightforward approach to his delivery in a mid range guttural delivery, highlighting it with a gruffly sung choruses. In nearly stark contrast The Autumn Offering’s latest album through Victory Records is much more polished with more of a melodic style of metal. Adding in the talents of new vocalist Matt McChesney and new drummer Allen Royal has undeniably altered the band’s overall sound.

As a result Fear Will Cast No Shadow is a completely different animal than it’s predecessor and as such should be treated so — not an evolution of the band’s sound, but a reinvented sound with its own identity.

From Atrophy To Obsession
For fans of the band’s previous work, the opening track may come as a bit of a shock at first. The Autumn Offering start out with a much cleaner, different sound from their last album. Throw in Matt McChesney’s cleanly sung vocals and long time fans of the band may be turned off at first like I was. I suppose that I was expecting a continuation of Embrace the Gutter. After several listens, however, McChesney ‘s vocals tend to grow on you. He has a much more melodic delivery on choruses that fits the musical direction the band has decided proceed with and he can belt out some higher range screams with the best of them. This is a strong opening track and pretty much force feeds their new sound down the listeners throat.

The Castaway
“The Castaway” starts off quickly with pile driving drums and a memorable riff. With McChesney’s scream coming into the mix this one reminds me of some of All That Remains recent work. I suppose that’s a good comparison for these guys, but it’s got a bit of a generic feel to it. Again, McChesney’s cleanly sung vocals are amazing — melodic, yet hit hard with the accompanying music. His range is impressive, hitting deep guttural growls, cleanly sung melodies and tortured screams effortlessly. There’s also some nice guitar work around the 1:20 and 2:08 marks.

Crown Yourself King
Deep growls get this one going before the music kicks in. When he wants to, McChesney can deliver his vocals with a dump truck full of evil. There’s a bit of piano work on this one that sort of comes out of no where and slows the momentum tremendously — thankfully its presence is short lived.

Silence and Goodbye
A melodic lead that could come off any of the recent In Flames albums starts off “Silence and Goodbye.” Group vocal harmonies present themselves early on in this one as well. I’m not a big fan of it personally, but I can see this one being a pretty solid single for the band.

All That Falls Around Us
I love the opening riffing for this one as the drums and vocals kick in. This is a hard hitting, high paced beast of a song. Melodic leads kick in to help mix up the pummeling riffs, as McChesney delivers a mixture of guttural and cleanly sung vocals.

Great Distance
Melodic guitar work starts off “Great Distance” before being interrupted by a tortured scream and beefing riffing. More melodic and cleanly sung vocals much akin to Demon Hunter’s latest couple of albums are present on this track as well.

Your Time Is Mine
Powerful drums and nicely timed riffing pick up the momentum a bit for the start of this next track. It continues for a solid 30 second or so before a melodic lead comes in with McChesney’s vocals. He transitions from styles with a fluidity that really makes a majority of these songs stand out from others in their genre.

Fear Will Cast No Shadow
I love the opening riff on this one. It’s got a nice evil feel as the drums kick in with McChesney’s more guttural, darker delivery. With the more commercial sound of the rest of this album, the title track is a stand out for me with its darker feel and aggressive delivery.

March Of The Clones
As the previous song fades out this one comes in at a slower, chugging pace. There are some interesting backing vocal effects that create a nice layered sound.

The Wolves At Your Door
The bass and drum start to this one are a nice change up from the more melodic beginnings of many of this album’s songs. It doesn’t last long though as solid metalcore riffs jump in with the vocals. I love the scream and guitar work at around the 1:20 mark.

The final track starts off strong with a military feel to the drumming and riffing. It’s got a beefy, heavy sound that continues as McChesney’s vocals shred. It’s a much darker end to a more melodic album than I expected. I personally would have like to have heard a bit more of this throughout. The track ends with one hell of a lead.

~ ~ ~

If you were a rabid fan of the band’s previous work, this may not be the album for you. However, if you’re looking for something with a bit more commercial feel that has the feel of All That Remains with a bit more of an edge, then this one is perfect for you. It’s got melodic riffs, scorching solos, powerful drumming and one hell of an impressive vocal delivery on Matt McChesney’s part.

Favorite Tracks:
Crown Yourself King
All That Falls Around Us
Fear Will Cast No Shadow

Additional Notes: