Post rock, post metal, whatever — just get past it already. Good music is good music and I get the need to categorize and tag albums as we have to do this for a myriad of reasons, but it pegs an album before the listener truly gets a chance to experience the first note. Let second full length, Film Noir, from Lithuania’s Autism be the example of not reading a book, in this case tag, by its cover. Tagged post rock this album is seven tracks of throughly engaging and beautifully written movements of music. The commentary is dark but make no mistake, it enshrouds the listener in cascades of sounds and emotions that are unexpected but welcomed once immersed.
Autism’s debut full length The Crawling Chaos was wave after wave of emotive passages full of slow burn crescendos set to spoken word vocals. And while the impact of the music can be felt the spoken word vocal approach was a bit off kilter for an entire album. The HP Lovecraft theme is not lost but the music took a backseat to the mind numbing talking around the halfway mark. Preceding EP, Falling Motion, was paint by numbers post-metal that rode somewhere between nearly any band in the same genre around that same time. It was well done and well orchestrated but was just too much of the same old thing to stand out or really get noticed. But with Film Noir, Autism stands to change all that and consequently their trajectory as a band in a very crowded scene.
Film Noir is a major improvement over the band’s previous efforts. To be sure, it’s a culmination but with a level of maturity that is astounding and particularly so from a band that’s only been active since 2012. If you must tag it, this album fits in with post rock and metal but there’s so much more on offer here and so much to take in that multiple listens slowly peel each layer like an exotic fruit. The prog feel of “Your Loudest Sound Is Change” speaks volumes of how the band has actually changed since 2013. And the doomy, almost apocalyptic feel of “918” is palpable. The long builds of tension find release with chaotic riffs and snare bursts to create a beast that’s long been in the making for this four piece. “Humanity – Crescendo” represents the band at their absolute best, pulling in some Toolesque bass and melodic guitar work only to fade into atmospheric black metal for the back half of the track. This song feels like the perfect mixture of everything Autism has been working for since their inception and it’s truly a breath of fresh air as emotions run the gamut with the rise and fall of intensity.
On Film Noir, Autism has positioned themselves ahead of the pack in emotionally immersive metal. And whether you term it post metal, post rock or whatever else — this is just great music to fully let yourself go with and totally succumb to the darkness of humanity that lies at the heart of this album. The true test here has been won: even though some of the worst of the human condition is front and center there’s a glimmer of hope in Autism’s songwriting that keeps the listener dangling between light and dark. This is 45 minutes of intriguing and spellbinding music that should be in your ears as soon as possible.