An Autumn For Crippled Children — Portugal EP
Just a little less than 10 months after the release of, arguably, the group's best album yet in The Long Goodbye (review), and An Autumn For Crippled Children (AAFCC) have a short EP already out in the wild. Following the pattern set forth with the Hearts | Light Blossoms and Try Not To Love Everything You Destroy EP, the group has made a habit of dropping an EP between albums so this wasn't completely unexpected. Portugal serves up more of the group's unique brand of atmospheric black metal and progressive rock in the form of two quality tracks.
Portugal is a very short release, so there isn't a whole lot to say about it. The material certainly falls in line with the rest of the group's catalogue, with no sharp changes to the overall sound and production values. The vocals are still muffled and wretched in the black metal style, layered over synths and restrained drumming; both tracks settle into a nice groove as AAFCC gives the listener a run through the ABCs of their style. This is definitely not a groundbreaking release for the group, but it's still a good one: a small teaser for those anticipating the next full-length and as good a primer for the uninitiated as one could expect.
Since discovering AAFCC a little over a year ago, I've found myself listening to their past albums quite a lot. Portugal was a nice surprise and I look forward to the next album. For a group that has established a very specific, niche sound, I'm consistently impressed with how each release explores new ground in what would seem to be a very narrow space. I wouldn't be averse to tweaking the mixture a little bit, though I don't have any real complaints thus far — so what do I know?
The European black metal scene — with its endless and disparate takes on the basics of the core genre — has been producing a lot of quality bands and albums for quite some time, and AAFCC add another entry to a solid discography of atmospheric, progressive black metal. Portugal is a brief look at a very unique band, showcasing the band's distinct tonal and production qualitiies; I highly recommend this release to both established and potential listeners — this EP is a great distillation of what the band has to offer.
Release date: December 8th, 2015
Record label: Independent / self-released
Michl — vocals, guitar, keyboards
TD — bass, keyboards
Chr — drums
- Seasons Change Spirits
Published: May 3rd, 2016