According to a statement on their Bandcamp page, Lithuania’s Autism made a conscious decision to explore “even more disturbing and uncomfortable topics” on their sophomore album Film Noir and, as a result, created an album rife with potent, melancholic atmosphere.
The band paints with shades of post-metal and post-rock, casually nodding to the progenitors and frontrunners of these respective genres while decidedly taking a much darker turn. Though void of vocals or lyrical narrative, the band explore the aforementioned topics and purvey such a dismal atmosphere through the use of moody instrumentation and textures, as well as harrowing audio samples culled from tragic events. The album is driven, as said best by the band themselves, by a “mood of pessimism and menace”, which is something rarely witnessed within the post-metal genre.
The record begins with soft, gorgeously somber clean guitars on the track “Alive and Torn”. The riffs shimmer and reverberate into the ether as gentle, tension-building percussion acts a heartbeat thoughtfully thumping along. This post-rock exhibition lulls the listener into a false sense of security, allowing the band’s aggressive side to make a more lasting impression on the next track, “In Anger”.
“In Anger” trudges forward with menacing, galloping sludge metal that is carried by thunderous drumming and soaring, tremolo-picked guitar leads. The track is an amalgam of mid-paced post-metal nuances, apocalyptic groove and pseudo-black metal stampedes, all of which work together to provide an ample sonic beating. This is immediately followed by “Humanity-Crescendo”, which in contrast weaves together ethereal post-rock with the band’s blend of pessimistic sludge. The seven-minute tune features a tug-o-war between calming, melodic introspection and leviathanic chord progressions, which sound as if they were cut from the same cloth as Oceanic/Panopticon-era Isis.
With “Brittle Bones”, Film Noir takes a sharp, dark turn. The track builds from cold, collected beginnings into an incendiary climax of marching sludge and layers of dismal leads that hover overheard like vultures stalking carrion. The entire track is accompanied by a child’s disturbing 911 call, giving the track the extra bit of hopelessness it didn’t know it needed. Another standout of the album’s second half is the eight-minute “918”. Narrated by the voice of Jim Jones, “918” steadily delivers bestial post-metal accentuated by malignant melodies, dissonance and Tool-esque polyrythmic grooves, making it the album’s heaviest cut.
Through pervasive sad and hopeless tones, distressing audio samples and instrumentation that balances between crushing anger and quiet despair, Autism‘s Film Noir proves itself to be one of instrumental metal’s darkest recordings. This 45-minute record gives the listener a brief glimpse into the darker side of the human condition, while simultaneously offering them some choice post-metal in the process.
Release Date: February 20, 2017
Favorite Tracks: “Humanity-Crescendo”, “Brittle Bones”, “918” and “Film Noir”
For Fans Of: Isis, Russian Circles, Neurosis and Set and Setting