Review Summary: "Bouncing parades of peace in the night, they lead the watching eyes..."
As I've gotten older, the phrase "less is more" has begun to have more and more meaning for me. In terms of music, less can most definitely be more. Within The Depths of a Darkened Forest
doesn't need flashy instrumentation or frantic tempo changes to get its point across. The album pulls the listener in by being simultaneously heavenly and haunting. The opening guitar pluckings of "Resonant Dusk" give a gentle yet hypnotic introduction to everything Autumn's Grey Solace have to offer. This is a true testament to Scott Ferrell's multi-instrumental talent, pulling together each entrancing melody into a poignant display of dreamlike atmospheres. "Cast to the Seas in Storms" showcases a sublime interplay of layered guitar harmonies and pulsing bass lines, conjuring a truly evocative orchestration. Within the Depths...
is anchored in its' consistency, as each song within the almost too short 35-minute run time blends together in a dreamlike fashion. No quality of the album is more like this than the ethereal vocals of Erin Welt. Her angelic croons float above the soothing instrumentation, echoing and blending with the instruments in a truly beautiful display within tracks like "Lost." The guitars end up working so well with her voice in part because they sound more like harps than actual guitars. Mandolins and various percussion add to the mix, but are used so sparsely that they end up effortlessly adding to the core sound of Ferrell's guitars and Welt's vocals. While Autumn's Grey Solace would go on to release a multitude of follow-up albums, their stunning debut remains their most emotive and spellbinding work to date.
Music like this can easily drag and become boring, or even self-indulgent. Within the Depths...
suffers from none of these pitfalls, the sparse arrangements balancing in just the right fashion that comes across as effortless. When an album can put you into a trance, the world melting around you while the music overtakes your whole mind, is when you know you've come across something special. The charming, hypnotic qualities of Within the Depths of a Darkened Forest
certainly lives up to its title, and by the time the closing title track concludes, you won't want to leave the nocturnal, sylvan domain you will find yourself within.