An Autumn For Crippled Children - Try Not to Love Everything You Destroy (EP) (2014)

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Sometimes you have to convince yourself not to overreact; don't overreach. Two songs are exactly that: two songs. A very small sample size. But when a band consistently puts out release after release of top notch material, it's more difficult each time not to fawn over the next one, however small it may be. An Autumn For Crippled Children haven't had a misstep in the nearly five years they've been on out collected radar. Album, EP, Album, EP, it doesn't seem to matter what length or time period, their music resonates in ways few others can. This time, they've taken a previous release, 2013's Try Not To Destroy Everything You Love, and turned it on its side. Not in the sonic sense, but wording. Underneath the album cover and wordplay is yet another strong outing from a band that is building a career on them. And while the cynical side of you will remind you it's only two songs, Try Not To Love Everything You Destroy is the next in a long line of excellence.

Most noticeably, the opening chords of the title track have returned to the harsh fuzziness of their roots, giving back some of the refined beauty they had built on their last release. But underneath that distortion are cascading layers of melody and morose. The constant here is the hammering of drum beats, pounding and racking through the noise with snapping precision. However, it is the synthesized element that does the most heavy lifting, with each touch of a key or lasting note raising the flames around the central guitar and vocals. It's muffled clarity, a hazy one that forms the identity of the track itself. And that sound, as a whole, is what separate this band from others. Post War more closely resembled the works of Botanist than it does standard black metal fare. The melodies here are hauntingly subtle, before they are buried in the avalanche of crushing distortion. What follows isn't the death of melody, but the fusing of those tones with unbridled noise. How these two mismatched styles fit together is beyond comprehension at times, but through explosive, dynamic musicianship, centered around the three minute mark, they do exactly that. It simply works here.

It may seem like the same old song and dance; An Autumn For Crippled Children have found their safe space, somewhere between chaos and the sublime. It isn't a weekend getaway, or a vacation home. They live there, work there, and thrive there like no other band in the current climate seems to. And at the risk of sounding like a scratched, dented and warped record, this EP is no exception. They've continued to give you what you've come to expect, but without the aura of pretentiousness or "here you go, choke on it," sentimentality. They don't do it to please you, me, or anyone else. And that is what makes it better each and every time out; this is the music they want to make, and it just so happens to be the music, you, me, and many others want to hear. And while it's hard to take a two song EP and extrapolate it into something bigger, "Try Not to Love Everything You Destroy" makes it easy to look to the future.


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