It’s been since 2012 since we’ve heard a new studio album from Autumn Moonlight. I’ve always loved their dark sense of wonder and melody, and so I was quite excited for this release. “Passengers” released in November, December, or January; depending on which site you view. I’m quite happy with the results.
Autumn Moonlight consists of Mariano Spadafora on bass and Tomás Barrionuevo on guitars. Both of them provide pianos, programming, and vocal harmonies, as well. They hail from Argentina.
The music is definitely along the lines of instrumental heavy prog, harking back to Porcupine Tree, but you’ll hear influence from progressive metal, as well. The style is guitar heavy with lots of hardened and even steely guitar tones; but gorgeous, almost atmospheric keys back the guitars with a graceful and haunting presence. The entire album feels urgent, cinematic, and shadowy.
I think what I love most about “Passengers” is that the album feels almost spiritual and transcendent in nature. The melodies, the climaxes with the smooth harmonies, and the generally dark and introspective tones throughout this album take my mind to other places and even inner spaces. The albums makes you feel something even though there are no lyrics.
The band communicates very well through their chosen instrumental method and the album does all of this in around 45 minutes. The band knows restraint and uses it effectively to grab our attention. One example of this is the intro “Breathe”: It really builds anticipation with its huge orchestral sound, and then it ends with us wanting even more.
Several tracks on this album are worthy of discussion. The title track itself has a wonderful way of alternating between loud and soft portions: It feels cinematic, but also introspective. “Outlast” has a nice distorted effect to it that gives way into a pure guitar melody that is striking and simple. “Last Stand” is a somewhat heavier track with great guitars and something akin to an epic Spartan vibe.
“Transcend” is probably my favorite on the album. I love the building nature of its construction, and it culminates in a wondrous vocal harmony that makes this track feel as if it were meant to give your heart hope and courage. “Where We Belong” is similar in style, and gives me the same feelings, maybe even more so. “Dying Light” ends the album perfectly with winding key passages and emotional guitars.
Autumn Moonlight have created probably their best album yet. It is evocative and murky in all the best ways, and it explores ideas of hope and unity that I really like. If you are a fan of instrumental progressive rock, this will be right up your alley.