Curse Of Autumn



by PsychicChris USER (353 Reviews)
March 9th, 2021 | 13 replies

Release Date: 03/05/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Something Withered This Way Comes

…well, this is awkward.

Immediately addressing the elephant in the room, Witherfall’s third album was produced by Iced Earth bandleader-turned-terrorist Jon Schaffer. It’s a move that was certainly convenient at the time considering guitarist Jake Dreyer’s roles in both bands. Let me make it clear that I have no interest in canceling Witherfall for the actions of their benefactor. It’s the sort of detail that would just end up being fun behind-the-scenes trivia in normal circumstances. Unfortunately, it’s inescapable when you consider that Curse Of Autumn is thoroughly lathered in Schaffer’s musical DNA.

This album is undeniably the band’s most accessible effort thus far and it seems to achieve this by taking cues from the Iced Earth playbook. The Nevermore-esque power/prog metal of albums past remains the order of the day, but the guitar work is more based around straightforward chugs while the choruses have a more anthemic flavor than before. I don’t make any assumptions about writing credits, but it gets to the point where one can vividly imagine Matt Barlow or Stu Block singing these songs instead of Joseph Michael.

Fortunately, there are enough facets of the band’s distinct musicianship and personality that still manage to shine through. The adjustments haven’t dumbed down the actual guitar playing as the rhythms have their intricate flourishes, the leads are packed with Yngwie-style shredding, and the acoustics’ atmosphere and flamenco flavor remain a priority. The same could be said for the vocals, which convey a wide range with the framing they’re given. The rhythm section is also pretty tight as Anthony Crawford’s bass playing may be at its most prominent and drummer Marco Minnemann can put in a stellar performance in any setting.

And for what it’s worth, the songwriting is solid and fairly varied. The one-two anthemic punch of “The Last Scar” and “As I Lie Awake” happens to be pretty good at Iced Earth aping despite my personal hang-ups and “The Other Side of Fear” puts in another aggressive hook later on. The primarily acoustic numbers are also decent with “The River” making the most of its melodrama in just three minutes time while the cover of Boston’s “Long Time” makes for an interesting epilogue without the original’s “Foreplay” jam in front of it. There’s also the matter of the band finally returning to full on prog metal with the fifteen-minute “…And They All Blew Away,” though even that has a four-minute radio edit included at the end of the album.

In the face of unfortunate timing and a persistent uncanny feeling, I have to admit that Witherfall has made another solid outing with Curse Of Autumn. It’s hard for me to be ‘objective’ about the album with so much Schaffer influence on display, but the band finds ways to keep their personal stamp on the material and there are some good songs that come from it. I do hope that they’re able to keep exploring this more accessible framework through a different lens next time around. I’m not sure if they’ll ever top 2017’s Nocturnes and Requiems, but they’ve still got plenty of good to work with. At the very least, this sure as hell is better than that last Demons & Wizards record…

“The Last Scar”
“As I Lie Awake”
“The Other Side of Fear”

Originally published at http://psychicshorts.blogspot.com

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user ratings (24)

Comments:Add a Comment 
March 9th 2021


Ehh, I dug their last album, but I ain't a fan of Iced Earth's sound at all. I'll give this a spin, but not expecting much. But who knows, maybe a it'll be a happy suprise

March 9th 2021


Ehh, I dug their last album, but I ain't a fan of Iced Earth's sound at all. I'll give this a spin, but not expecting much. But who knows, maybe a it'll be a happy suprise

March 9th 2021


I loved the debut, but thought the follow-up was pretty unengaging.

March 10th 2021


Hell yeah mate, third great album in a row for me although they're getting pretty samey. As for Schaffer's production I can't really blame them for not wanting to throw away the whole thing and lose more money. Anyway, no mention of Tempest or Another Face? Those are my two favs so far, especially the final part of the latter.

"I loved the debut, but thought the follow-up was pretty unengaging."
That's a pretty common opinion from what I see, but I don't understand it. I thought the second album was just as good as the debut, expanding on it but losing a bit of sheer catchiness in the process admittedly

March 10th 2021


Album Rating: 4.0

Their debut has such a perfect balance of complexity and catchiness but I liked A Prelude To Sorrow.

Staff Reviewer
March 10th 2021


I'll take a peek at this in the next few days. Pos'd

Digging: Cradle of Filth - Existence Is Futile

March 11th 2021


You mention Stu and Barlow, and I hear some Iced Earth and Into Eternity. I guess in the end we both heard the same thing LOL

March 15th 2021


Album Rating: 4.5

I was worried that the album was going to be too influenced by Shcaffer and incorporate too much of the Iced Earth sound due to the way "The Last Scar" was quite the detraction from their style from the previous two albums. Ironically, it's the only song that sounds like that, and after a few listens, it's not too bad. Still reminds me too much of Owens era Iced Earth, but one of the select few good songs from that era.

"As I Lie Awake" also sounds very much like a song Primal Fear might have written in their heyday (two of their however many albums), especially the vocals. The song itself is very upbeat and quite a juxtaposition against the lyrics.

Anyway, the album as a whole is another good release from them, and probably their "most accessible", but only in that the songs are catchier and less extended prog noodling. Can't actually decide which album I like the most from them. They all have their own style.

March 18th 2021


Gave this a couple of spins again... It's actually very good but it sometimes gets a little bit repetitive. I got hints of Jag Panzer this time.

March 19th 2021


It's a bit of a snoozer for me unfortunately. Not much to grab onto, they're obviously great musicians, but from a song writing standpoint it doesn't do much for me.

April 5th 2021


Album Rating: 4.0

Don't like the production, way too ICED EARTH-ish ! Due to all the law problems of Schaffer, well,that's it, the music itself is great , but-I repeat- way too Iced Earth-ish sounding ! Vocalist is great and the musical direction right ! Kudos !

May 18th 2021


Album Rating: 4.0

great return to form. not sure what happened on that last one

Digging: Cradle of Filth - Existence Is Futile

September 27th 2021


Heavy eye-roll about the Jon crying. Boohoo.

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