[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Autumn Tears lure us into the forest at the start of their latest with three short cues, after which the tempo shifts to a pummeling war march before tapering off again into more tranquil territory. The array of instrumentation they’re displaying on ‘Colors Hidden Within the Gray’ has somehow become even more grandiose; the effort spent assembling this massive new collection of music must have been staggering and yet for all the bombast and all the sly time changes there are constants which remain. For one thing, the piano still drives quite a few pieces on here and the vocalists who contribute this time out continue to soar far above.
You could take this album at face value and consider it a meditation on the passing of time or you could spend a lot of it dissecting this offering piece by piece. I opted to immerse myself in the fantastical world they have composed and having now come out on the other side of it I can easily say that this one’s complexity reveals feverish creativity paired with an exactitude as yet unheard from any other act who operate in this style. You could go so far as to say that Autumn Tears are now the pre-eminent practitioners of contemporary classical music.
This record is fully developed and long, requiring the listener to concentrate on what they’re hearing because there are so many detailed layers in each composition it is easy to get lost. You’ll be following along to one melodic progression… suddenly in come the angelic vocals and flowing through those are delicate sprinkles of strings or even a stray shade of brass. I’d love to hear this release performed live by a full orchestra because if you read the liner notes this is what has been captured in the studio.
How it all came together can be summed up in one word: will.
I can see Ted at his piano on a soundstage conducting his players from the bench while a lucky few sit to the side and are utterly consumed by what is being created. I’m really hoping more people pay attention to Autumn Tears in 2019 because it may be some time until we get to hear from them again; these arrangements are the definition of graceful refinement, yet again not a note is out of place.
When the term ‘record’ gets used this is the proper application. You’ll remember I mentioned their love of details, here’s one to sweeten the pot: not one of the tracks from their previous EP appear on here, so in actuality you have nearly an hour and a half of resplendent majesty to soak up. If it seems like I’m taken by what has been achieved then just wait until you’ve gotten your own copy to bask in. The more you listen, the better you’ll understand how just how much talent has been utilized in the making of this masterpiece.