CD Review of Embrace the Gutter by The Autumn Offering

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Embrace the Gutter
starstarstarstarno star Label: Victory Records
Released: 2006
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First the walls started shaking. Then the paint started peeling from them. Then I opened my window and yelled, “Timber!” because I thought I saw a tree falling. Then I found out that my apartment complex had to reset its foundation. The Autumn Offering is likely to do such damage to the property of anyone who picks up their latest album, Embrace the Gutter. With a monstrous sound headed by Dimebag-style chainsaw guitars, this band has joined the ranks of God Forbid, Trivium, Unearth, Shadows Fall, and others who are redefining American metal before our very eyes.

Running a scant 35 minutes, Embrace the Gutter moves at such a torrid pace that you’re never given a chance to breathe. The Autumn Offering’s formula calls for saying what you’re going to say in the first two minutes of a song, then shredding the be Jesus out of whatever instrument you’re playing. It’s almost as if they were reading my mind and giving the finger to the corporate, over-produced metal that is frequently flung at fans of the genre. The scene has been getting more and more competitive in just the last few years, and the Autumn Offering easily have the chops to be around for some time to come.

Daytona Beach, Florida is the band’s stomping grounds, and it has provided plenty of ammunition. With every member having a lyrical say at some point on the record, the Autumn Offering roast the materialistic and empty lifestyle that dominates the nearby beaches. Granted, the lyrics are hardly anything special, often limited to short, strained outbursts. Vocalist Dennis Miller (no, not that one – although this one would most certainly have fared better on Monday Night Football) brings a brutal growl to the table, though his range is severely restricted. The lyrics and delivery match the package, but nothing more.

But, when you get right down to it, the Autumn Offering is not about meaningful lyrics. They’re about making sure you’re deaf at work the day after one of their concerts. They’re about delivering the guitar solos that metal fans are frothing at the mouth for. They’re about beating you into the ground like a tent stake going into soft soil. I love it! The band has clearly placed this above their lyrics, so one can’t complain too loudly that the music has nothing to say. Musically, these guys are the equivalent to the demon dog from hell in “Ghostbusters.” They’re the cat’s pajamas.

If you’re fed up with pansy, radio-friendly metal, this is the ticket. These guys deserve their spot as a transcendent contributor to what is a revolutionary time in American metal. If Miller can expand his range and the band write more rounded lyrics, the Autumn Offering has the potential to not only further influence the metal underground, but blow it up entirely.

~Bill Clark