For those of you wondering what OPETH and AMORPHIS may sound like if you stripped them down to bare essentials, removed all folk elements, and added more rock with a touch of grindcore, AUTUMN’S END is the answer. This four-piece act out of Phoenix, Arizona, has been around since 2002 once guitarist Chris Cannella decided to take a break from his work with N17 and RORSCHACH TEST. However, line up difficulties and miscommunication resulted in only one self-titled full length release back in 2004 prior to Act of Attrition. After regrouping and putting their heads together for the new album, AUTUMN’S END have released their second full length worldwide release. It can only be described as one of the most interesting U.S.-based releases in recent times. Act of Attrition portrays a wide variety of songwriting from slower, soothing melodies with calm, clean vocals to outright, ass-kicking grind with inhuman growls. “Eyes of Ignorance,” “To Carry the Burden,” and “Hand of Glory” show a strong influence from bands like OPETH while the band vacillates between smooth melodies and shredding passages. Other tracks like “Scars from the Candle,” “Give up the Ghost,” and “The Dirge” are full-on metal onslaughts of catchy riffs, stop/start rhythms, and flattening drums. This album also sports instances of Spanish guitar and Eastern chord structures to add further diversity. Although Act of Attrition suffers from some thin production, the talent of the band easily shines through, which is demonstrated by tours with the likes of ARCH ENEMY, HATE ETERNAL, BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, and EYES OF FIRE.
This is easily one of the top bands to watch as 2006 winds down, and AUTUMN’S END should be headlining their own U.S. tours in the not-so-distant future if they keep up this kind of effort. (Hammermill Records)