Autolatry are a metal band from Connecticut, USA. On “Native“, the guys tell historic tales of their homeland of New England through the means of proggy Black Metal, using an intelligent & somewhat post-metal songwriting style that allows for lengthy tracks filled with wild textures of harmony and dissonance. The band uses these layers of rhythm and melody to tap into a tireless energy that doesn’t aim to be just harsh, instead giving the music an occult charm with a certain hypnotic quality.
The aformentioned mesmerizing element makes listening to “Native” feel like entering a chasm of no return. But as I said, it isn’t some bleak all-terrible fall – more like a really enjoyable musical ride that you don’t wanna get off of! First piece “Colony” showcases the sound of Autolatry through a rather traditional introduction, but soon enough, the band’s signature melodies creep in, circulating like the bloodlife of this release. And from violent, these become soothing on track two, “Waning Moon“, where the aura of the previous BM attack slows down and embraces post-metal sluggish instrumental darkness, the chords droning and drowning in their own echoes. Give it a listen:
“Unrest with the tide” begins once again with restless black metal textures, but now with a more intricate intent than on “Colony“. The fretless bass, leads, chords and drums painting a very abstract picture that seems to be always on the move, so even though it clocks at 7 minutes, these pass by proudly. The percussion should be noted here, the drummer knowing when to just groove with it, and when to alternate so things stay fresh. The vocals also vary – between traditional shrieks to lower growls and even some rough cleans on “Pale Dishonor“. This piece is half blackened, half quieter, the latter featuring a well-written solo and lovely acoustic guitars, and the way these again transition into BM dissonance is fantastic.
Just before the title track, we arrive at a beautiful, all-acoustic break in the form of “Setting of the Sun“. This one is “clean” as can be, features a saxophone solo(!) and could easily fit on a non-metal album! Only Autolatry can pull it off on a metal release, with their bewitching proggy allure.
The closing title track, “Native“, demonstrates everything the band is good at, making this whole release, while of course composed of different parts, eventually feel like one long melodic ambient concept. And though it ends after 6 tracks, the sound these guys aim to deliver remains with the listener afterwards, echoing in the ears and mind further on like a slowly fading aura.
Yes, “Native” is a very good album, it’s quality lingering on and not vanishing the second you click “stop” like with most modern music. It feels original and surprising, but doesn’t fall into the trap of going over-the-top and trying to reinvent the genre; The ideas are kept organic and flowing, instead of being covered by endless orchestration, since each song and it’s progression have enough “meat” to them as it is; An interesting, heavy effort that is recommended for BM fans, post-metal shoegazers and progheads alike!
— 9/10 —