Colourful seas of saddening guitars backed by a powerful bass presence, harrowing vocals and an interesting rhythm section serve as a wonderful soundtrack to melancholia and subdued beauty. On their third album Only the Ocean Knows
, An Autumn
for Crippled Children
are carrying on with the more post rock approach of Everything
yet making it more hopeless and dejected. The atmosphere, as expected from this band is powerful and absorbing, focusing a more watery, oceanic feeling this time round. As with Everything
, the cover art of Only the Ocean Knows
is a good descriptor of what to expect from within this album, and once again, this Dutch band have created a powerful and emotional album.
I’m really glad that An Autumn
for Crippled Children
has made greater use of the post rock elements that Everything
flirted with. They’re mixed in with the black metal elements much more naturally this time, crescendos and climaxes are made to better use and overall the instrumental quality is much higher than the previous album. Everything
saw the band moving into a calmer, even upbeat at times direction, which contrasted sharply with the twisted and deranged atmosphere of Lost
. Only the Ocean Knows
carries on in the same direction, yet adding different twists and turns to their journey. The guitars are more absorbing, having a watery feel to them; they’re constantly flowing, shifting and turning like the waves on a calm ocean.
The black metal elements are also more subdued, yet this works in the bands favour. The overall feel of Only the Ocean Knows
is not of a crippling depression, but of a comfortable one. The sadness is still as profound as ever on this one, but it’s handled with greater care. More
thought has been put into carefully constructing a powerful and introspective atmosphere, whilst the black metal elements have become softer and more accessible. The guitar tone lacks some of the bite that Lost
had, lacking most sense of malice or hatred. It’s pretty, emotive and works well with the gorgeous melodies the band is playing. The vocals, whilst still being in the same vain as their predecessors work well with the calm music, creating a great contrast between light and dark. The band continues to make great use of bass, yet is even thicker and more audible here. Production wise this is great as always, with each instrument being heard perfectly. One of the main reasons I gravitated so strongly towards this band is their absolutely stellar production qualities and they continue to impress.
The use of keyboards is still highly pivotal to the music, creating emotional undertones beneath the endless waves of constantly flowing guitars. Another thing I’d like to mention is that the overall tone of the music is one of forward momentum, of constantly moving forward, and indeed the song structures reflect this. Transitions happen perfectly, with each segment blending into each other seamlessly. Nothing
ever feels out of place or incongruous, the overall tone of the album is one of great comfort.
I greatly enjoyed Only the Ocean Knows
and felt as though the band is handling their craft with greater care. Unlike Everything
, which had a tendency to draw out sections much longer than needs be, Only the Ocean Knows
never gets tiring and never feels stretched out. Another great addition to this bands catalog and I am eagerly looking forward to what they release in the future.