Osen Vechna

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Osen Vechna (which means "Autumn Is Eternal") was the third album from Russian gothic metal stalwarts Autumn, and like their previous works, essentially dealt in mournful and doomy, slow-paced ambience reminiscent of Agalloch and Avernus. Interestingly, most all of the new ingredients heard here were the result of the band's recently altered membership. Female vocalist Marina Kogan and keyboard player Arseny Semenihin were both gone, and along with them, obviously, the respective dimensions their talents brought to Autumn's sound; but their duties are still occasionally performed in more subtle quantities here by someone. And newly arrived viola player Ludmila Emeliashina immediately contributes an aptly chilling intro piece whilst backed by howling winds, yet goes surprisingly underutilized for a time thereafter, finally resurfacing during unusually heavy, death/doom highlight "Demon, Rvushiysia v Nebo," and its less memorable successor "Zaklinanie." Instead and for the most part, ensuing numbers like the title track and "Angely" emphasize slow-building mood-pieces filled with baleful interplay between acoustic and electric guitars, and backed by surprisingly "live"-sounding drums. Singer Yuri Rottor intermittently tackles some deathly growls, but more often than not prefers a woeful baritone that almost always (the thankfully brief "Kogda Nashi Glaza Byli Chistymi" being the sole exception) gets the job done to great effect. This is certainly true of closing track "Otchayanie," which sadly may prove to be the last heard from Autumn should rumors that they went their separate ways immediately after this album's release prove to be true. If so, more's the pity, since it's not very common that one is treated to the exotic sounds of Russian-sung gothic metal.