Autumn Altitude

The heavy, organ-laden rock that introduces Autumn's new record, Altitude, has a Green Carnation-esque charm. It's a misleading opening, although Altitude has its own strengths. The heavy rock stays, with the faintest hint of prog, but it's quickly clear that the album's dominant voice is, in fact, its vocalist. The smooth, mid-range tones of Autumn's newest member soar above the interweaving lines of keyboards, guitars, bass and drums in a mix that sounds like a duel between singer and band, rather than a multi-part collaboration. But much of Altitude's vitality comes from this interaction, a below-the-surface tension that belies the songs' mostly velvety surfaces. Not that Autumn's music is exactly cheery — there are plenty of minor harmonies and doleful lyrics to satisfy the gloomy — but there are also a very few sharp edges. (Metal Blade)