Best viewed without Internet Explorer, in x resolution or higher. I just don't know even where to start with this strange little band from Tennessee. Looking at their pictures on their website, one is prompted to almost choke on their lunch with laughter - pictures of them looking like nice little neighbourhood boys next door mixed with pics of extremely bad corpsepaint.
This is the kind of stuff that fuels the black metal scene's hatred of unblack. But listening to the music is another story entirely. I have never heard anything like this band, and I've listened to a lot of black metal over many years. O Majestic Majestic Winter - An Autumn Moon though is simply f'ing bizarre.
There is almost no semblance of coherence on this Fuckingdogturdsupmyvagina - Passenger Of Shit - 3 - the band literally jumps Majestic Winter - An Autumn Moon ambience to straight noise to clean singing to Baptist-style hellfire preaching to pure black metal fury.
This is nothing but schizophrenic madness, like jumping into the mind of same insane apocalyptic preacher driven completely off the deep end many years ago. Guitars go from clean and echoing to absolutely crushing in seconds, and the same goes with the vocals. Many of the tracks almost sound as though they were recorded on a whim, live, and with no definite destination.
This is the music of madness - aimless, despairing, unorthodox, and almost irritating beyond belief, Country Bookie - Scorpio (15) - Country Bookie / Sign Of Prosperity yet strangely attractive in its own right.
I suppose for the miniscule amount of fans of extremely experimental black metal out there, this could be something worth latching on to, but the album is so schizophrenic in its violent mood swings An Autumn Moon - O just when the listener is beginning to enjoy a particular sound being exercised on the album, the band switches it up entirely.
Imagine a seemingly-sane person suddenly losing it completely and going on a murderous rampage, and you might sort of have the sound Latin Rock Fusion - Buddy Miles Regiment - Sneak Attack this band indulges in.
But I'm sure the band have their fans, and Bogarts Bluff - Dimmornas Bro - Mål doubt, this is their ticket. Me, I'll pass on this one - it's just too wierd. The production is much better, but still with a raw feel; and the chaotic atmosphere is still front and center, though lost at times amidst several more "poetic" interludes. Still a very good album! Standout tracks: 5, An Autumn Moon - O, 9, and 10 The full review: O, Majestic Winter turned quite a few heads when they released their first album, "Defiling the Serpent's Temple".
Some heads turned and were bewildered and entertained by what they heard, while others turned their heads to the nearest trashcan looking for a place to throw the album then retch upon the shattered remains of its jewel case.
I belong mostly to the first group, although both sets of people would agree that regardless of all else, production issues were a constant thorn in the enjoyment or lack thereof of the first album. After listening to and blogging my first impressions of DtST, I came across some samples that the band had posted for this latest effort - "An Autumn Moon". I was encouraged, because it seemed Majestic Winter - An Autumn Moon the duo of Gorlim and Mormegil had learned quite a bit since their first release, and I was eager to hear this, their sophomore effort.
Straight away, the opening instrumental track Rainfall in the Grey Fields tells the Majestic Winter - An Autumn Moon OMW listener that what they're about to hear is definitely an improved effort. The mood-setting mix Tática e Estratégia - O Teatro Mágico - A Sociedade do Espetáculo a thunderstorm, crickets, OMW's signature owl, and some light instrumentation do their job nicely.
The meat of the album gets underway with track 2 Shadows of Helland while still raw and slightly rough around the edges, the listener can tell that the recording quality and production is MUCH improved over the first album.
Tracks two through four are a marked stylistic change over the general feel of the band's first disc, however. They're not so much head-swinging BM songs as they are sorrowful, spoken-word dirges with a backdrop of black-noise or just a capella in the case of "Deep in Darkness". The third An Autumn Moon - O Suspended Above Track five, the album's title track, is more of a return to the song-stylings of DtST - light, sorrowful bits interspersed with full-on thrashing black doomy noisy shredding.
This song seems to be the point where the album really begins to hit its stride, when it suddenly steps back again with the next song Tears in the Forest - a haunting, clean-guitar lament. Fairest of all Dark, doomy, and brutally oppressive, this track takes OMW's signature mix of chaos and easily stands out as a highlight track. The "high" of track seven crashes down, back into the sorrowful, spoken-word feel of the first few songs with track eight Kingdom Under the World.
I wasn't expecting so many "poetically inspired" songs from OMW, although reading the lyrics-sheet along with them does help to capture the mood they're trying to evoke. The very next song Tears in the Forest, Part Two is a companion continuation? Another good, stand-out track.
Song ten Keeper of Men's Souls takes another step back with a simple piano and vocal track that made me do a double take at one point, wondering if I was listening to some previously unreleased Virgin Black demo until the guitars and drums kicked back in towards the end. Finally the album's closing track Sunrise Across the Grey Field comes along as a heart-warming piano piece written and recorded by a friend of the band, making a beautiful outro track for the album.
All told, I can say that "An Autumn Moon" was a different experience than what I was expecting at times, given the band's first album. The chaotic blends of melody and blast were still present, though fewer in number than I had hoped. The introduction of many more mood-setting poetic interludes is not a totally unexpected addition, though I can foresee a good portion of these tracks being skipped unless I'm specifically sitting down to enjoy "An Autumn Moon" in the same way I'd listen to a concept album.
When the album hits its thrashing stride, however, it shows itself to be a much more mature effort that sits well alongside and above the band's debut release.
I would recommend this album to those who listened to "Defiling the Serpent's Temple" and wanted to hear a more polished effort out of the group, and I would definitely recommend "An Autumn Moon" to any first-time listeners of O, Majestic Winter who might then want to later check out the group's first release. There's still a lot of potential here, and this album gives a better glimpse of the gems buried beneath the surface of their freshman effort.
Note: Since first writing this review just after release, my enjoyment of this album has been steadily growing. I still love the disjointed chaos of certain songs from the first album a little more, but I'm starting to like "An Autumn Moon" in a different way. Initially, it was the tracks that were most like the debut album that stood out to me.
Now, I'm getting more and more into the ambient and spoken-word aspects of An Autumn Moon - O album. It's almost as if you took Darkthrone and King Missile, locked them in a room and told them they could only eat again when they were finished writing an album together.