An Autumn For Crippled Children – All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet – Album Review

cover An Autumn For Crippled Children - All Fell Silent Everything Went Quiet

Artist: An Autumn For Crippled Children

Album Title: All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet

Label: Prosthetic Records

Date of Release: 1 May 2020

If ever there was a band with a name that is the equivalent of shooting themselves in the head, it is this one. An Autumn For Crippled Children (henceforth referred to as ‘AAFCC’). That name is just awful, and that’s coming from someone who has no end of blasphemous, tacky, whacky and downright hideous band names in his collection. But there’s something about the name AAFCC that makes me feel uncomfortable, more so since I became a father if I’m honest. It’s hardly surprising to learn that the protagonists choose to remain anonymous. The worst thing about it though, is that the name doesn’t really fit the musical output and moreover, it is very likely to put many people off listening to their endeavours. And that’s a shame, because AAFCC are good. They are really very good.

I’ve known about the Dutch trio for a number of years having been tasked with reviewing an early release for Powerplay Magazine back in the day. And, despite their name, I warmed to their music in a way that I wasn’t expecting. Therefore, when the opportunity presented itself to hear their newest creation, I took it. ‘All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet’ is the eighth full-length since their inception in 2009, meaning that they must be one of the most prolific bands in the metal underground, churning out an album on average every 18 months or less. And, based on the evidence presented to me here, I can’t say that the quality has suffered either.

As with previous releases, the trio of guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Mchl, bassist/keyboardist Td, and drummer/keyboardist Chr present the listener with a striking blend of black metal, shoegaze and synth-pop on ‘All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet’. If one was to offer a reference or two, then the more well-known names of Alcest and Deafheaven might be decent shouts, although neither are perfect fits.

AAFCC1

With AAFCC, it feels to some extent that were it not for the tortured, high-pitched screams of Mchl that are buried deep within the deliberately fuzzy and low-fi ‘underground’ production, black metal might not be much of a relevant descriptor. There are occasional flurries of blastbeats and fast-picked riffing from the realm of black metal, as heard within the likes of ‘None More Pale’ or ‘I Became You’ for example. But, throughout this record, there is a greater emphasis on the synths, the melodies and the layers of elegant yet morose, melancholic melodies. The synths definitely sit forward in the mix, whilst the guitars, drums and vocals take more of a back seat. As such, one of the great strengths of this record is that each and every song has something within it that is either striking or rather beautiful, requiring us to dive back in to have another listen, thus allowing those melodies to grab an even greater hold on us.

The other strength to this album, is that it does not outstay its welcome. Each of the ten tracks range between three and five minutes in length, avoiding the temptation to stretch unnecessarily into longer, drawn out compositions, just because that tends to be an accepted facet of black metal, or because their contemporaries do it. AAFCC have decided that their music is best served in smaller, bite-size chunks and, to my mind, it works very well indeed.

The pulsating, throbbing heart of ‘Water’s Edge’ is a particular highlight for me, but the truth is that this is a remarkably consistent album, full of positives and moments where I forget their hideous name and instead just revel in the raw and occasionally oppressive beauty of the music, as evidenced within the sublime ‘Everlasting’ as just one of many examples.

If I had any criticism to level at AAFCC, aside from their name, it would be that I would dearly love to hear these clearly talented musicians push the envelope even further. By that, I mean that there’s an argument to suggest that the trio have found their niche and are now content to plunder it for all it’s worth rather than experiment further with their sound. Mind you, when the results are as positive as they are here on ‘All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet’, can you blame them for sticking to what they know best?

I know I keep harping on about it, but if you can get past their godawful name, then An Autumn For Crippled Children will offer you a brilliantly rewarding listening experience that proves beyond any doubt, that extremity and subtlety can come together in perfect harmony to create something really rather beautiful. Who’d have thought it eh?!

The Score of Much Metal: 86%

Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:

Havok – V
Helfró – Helfró
Victoria K – Essentia
Cryptex – Once Upon A Time
Thy Despair – The Song Of Desolation
Cirith Ungol – Forever Black
Igorrr – Spirituality and Distortion
Nightwish – Human. II: Nature.
Katatonia – City Burials
Wolfheart – Wolves Of Karelia
Asenblut – Die Wilde Jagd
Nicumo – Inertia
The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous
Omega Infinity – Solar Spectre
Symbolik – Emergence
Pure Reason Revolution – Eupnea
Irist – Order Of The Mind
Testament – Titans Of Creation
Ilium – Carcinogeist
Dawn Of Ouroboros – The Art Of Morphology
Torchia – The Coven
Novena – Eleventh Hour
Ashes Of Life – Seasons Within
Dynazty – The Dark Delight
Sutrah – Aletheia EP
Welicoruss – Siberian Heathen Horde
Myth Of I – Myth Of I
My Dying Bride – The Ghost Of Orion
Infirmum – Walls Of Sorrow
Inno – The Rain Under
Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre
Mindtech – Omnipresence
Dark Fortress – Spectres From The Old World
The Oneira – Injection
Night Crowned – Impius Viam
Dead Serenity – Beginnings EP
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic
Deadrisen – Deadrisen
Blaze Of Perdition – The Harrowing Of Hearts
Godsticks – Inescapable
Isle Of The Cross – Excelsis
Demons & Wizards – III
Vredehammer – Viperous
H.E.A.T – H.E.A.T II
Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void
Into The Open – Destination Eternity
Lunarsea – Earthling/Terrestre
Pure Wrath – The Forlorn Soldier EP
Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering
Sepultura – Quadra
Dyscordia – Delete / Rewrite
Godthrymm – Reflections
On Thorns I Lay – Threnos
God Dethroned – Illuminati
Fragment Soul – A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies
Mariana Semkina – Sleepwalking
Mini Album Reviews: Moloken, The Driftwood Sign & Midnight
Serenity – The Last Knight
Ihsahn – Telemark EP
Temperance – Viridian
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Deathwhite – Grave Image
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart
SWMM – Trail Of The Fallen
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise EP
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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