ColdWorld is a one-man ambient black metal project hailing from Erfurt, Germany. The project’s sole member, Georg Börner has worked on this project since 2005, releasing an EP and a full length album, both of which were well received in the black metal community. His newest release, a second full length album entitled Autumn was released in the Summer of 2016 on Cold Dimensions. Börner has remained consistent throughout the ColdWorld discography and Autumn certainly does not take away any momentum or quality that existed in his previous releases.
If I were to compare Autumn to its predecessor Melancholie², it is certainly a more uplifting and warmer record. However, before jumping to assumptions, it is not a shoegaze band incorporating black metal, more a black metal sound that uses ambient motifs, folk instruments and triumphant chord progressions without any gimmicks. I really like how this release knows how to layer its instrumentation without turning it into a wall of sound of reverb and tremolo picking. In terms of production, it’s raw yet polished. It still keeps the harsh feeling of black metal but was certainly worked on to sound big and nicely spaced out.
The songwriting, to me, is second to none. Yes, this is black metal, but it isn’t all blast beats, Börner isn’t afraid to put in a riff or two. It is not entirely repetitive nor does it drag on, as all the songs have a good length. This album does not overstay its welcome despite being just under an hour with 8 tracks. It feels as though all the songs serve a good purpose. The performances are tight and well written and I particularly liked the inclusion of stringed instruments, acoustic guitar (more so Track 5), as well as a very nice use of synth pads which add more layers to songs. The vocals performances are fantastic. While the harsher vocals are what you would expect, the cleans that include harmonies as well as female melodies are a great addition without being too much of a gimmick, as I’ve said before.
The music is able to put across an original idea/feeling that is rare in the genre (or at least not done as well). The main characteristic of black metal is its association with Winter and cold and grim feelings. This album takes this idea of capturing the feelings of a season and applies them to Autumn (in my opinion it would be a hard task to work with Summer or Spring). Autumn is like the transition from happiness to grim. The leaves fall and vegetation either dies or prepares for the dark and cold winter, so with that, this album takes a melancholic approach and makes use of uplifting riffs as it prepares itself for the coming of snow and ice. To quote John Donne,” No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace, As I have seen in one autumnal face”. This to me, sums up the release perfectly, as the season of Autumn is beautiful and is able to translate to black metal.
The standout tracks to me would be ‘Void’, ‘Womb of Emptiness’, ‘The Wind and the Leaves’ and the opening track ‘Scars’. There is a fantastic use of voices, in a harsh and melodic sense, as well as orchestral and/or folk instruments, similar to an artist like Saor. The first two tracks have catchy and uplifting riffs, whereas the second half of the album (after track 5) are much darker and evil sounding. The instrumental ‘The Wind and the Leaves’ has a very traditional and medieval sound, using only a violin and acoustic guitar and harmonising the melodies, it is a nice interlude but is long enough it can be listened to out of context of the release. ‘Womb of Emptiness’ is certainly the most in depth song on the album, it is the most layered and has the longest run time of nearly 10 minutes. However, it is most certainly the most crafted song and is the heart of the release. Other songs such as ‘Escape II’ and ‘Autumn Shades’ are great for putting the flesh on bone for this album, while not being total fillers.
This LP is consistent and I have returned to it more often than the previous releases. I don’t have much problems with it, at least nothing worth mentioning. The use of pads and unconventional black metal instruments, as well as great use of different vocal styles while not branching too out and having riffs rather than constant blast beats really gave a breath of fresh air. ColdWorld certainly hits the nail on the head when it comes to themes and while I have not gotten a hold of the lyrics (Börner has stated in that past he purposely does not release lyrics), I would not put it past the intellectual ability of the artist to fall short on them. The depth of the music and the comfortable mix make this release memorable.
If you liked this release you may also like; Saor, Gaoth, Lustre, Corr Mhóna
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