Autumn (NL)

Autumn (NL)
Marjan Welman (Vocals Vetrar Draugurinn), Jens Van der Valk (Guitar, Back Vocals Cantara, ex-God Dethroned), Kevin Storm (Bass), Jan Grijpstra (Drums), Mats Van der Valk (Guitar, Back Vocals Cantara, Seizure, Salacious Gods), Jan Munnik (Keyboard, Programming, Piano), Nienke de Jong (Vocals Dejafuse, ex-Her Enchantmen), Jerome Vrielink (Bass Massive Assault , Absorbed (NL)), Bert Ferweda (Guitar), Meindert Sterk (Bass), Welmoed Veersma (Vocals), Jeroen Bakker (Guitar Sephyros), Hildebrand Van de Woude (Drums), Jasper Koenders (Guitar ex-Her Enchantmen), Menno Terpstra (Keyboard Sephyros)

Winter 2009 heralds the return of Dutch heavy rock collective Autumn to the forefront with a new intense and diverse album: Altitude.

In many ways a logical progression from 2007’s highly acclaimed album My New Time, it does present us with one surprising change: one of voice, introducing rising star Marjan Welman, taking over vocal duties from Nienke de Jong. My New Time was a bold statement: "Through all adversity, here we are and we're here to stay." Let us not forget Autumn had already faced more setbacks than most bands would have been able to endure. It had not strayed them from course.

However, fate had one more trick up its sleeve. Early 2008, vocalist and front woman extraordinaire Nienke decided to part ways with Autumn, leaving the band faced with their most difficult decision yet.

Against all odds, the five remaining band members decided that this could not possibly spell the end of their musical endeavor and since the main body of composers and lyricists remained, the search was on for a new vocalist. Guitarist Jens: "It was clear that we wouldn't set out to find a second Nienke.

There would be no one worthy of taking her place if that were our aim. Instead, we looked for someone whose voice, as well as personality, would gel perfectly with the Autumn that had risen with My New Time." That ideal vocalist rose and shone as Marjan Welman entered the spotlight.

Marjan, making quite the name for herself in Holland and abroad with her enchanting appearance on Ayreon's 01011001 album, was more than happy to audition and the chemistry between the six musicians was instant and undeniable. With the writing process for the new album well underway by the time she joined, Marjan immediately started playing an active role in pre-productions, rapidly taking to the material and bringing her unique warm voice to the songs, giving Autumn's sound a slightly different twist, while preserving its identity.

Creating the new record proved very exciting and surprising, as each step of the way uncovered just how well Marjan's voice and emotional translation of the lyrics fit the songs. Jens: "Astonishing, how certain songs that hadn't really got that certain spark to them in the past, all of a sudden just burst into life when Marjan recorded some vocals for a quick demo! We feel this incarnation of Autumn has all the potential to realize all we want to encompass as a band.

Altitude is testament to this and with the solid team we have built up around us, we feel we've got the means to back it up!" Working together with the exact same team that was responsible for My New Time allowed the musicians to focus their energy solely on the creative process of composing Altitude. Guitarist Mats comments: "The certainty that we would end up with an extremely powerful sound meant that we could focus entirely on writing an album worthy of such a production." This also led to a deeper involvement in the production process.

Pre-productions as well as a large chunk of the final recordings for Altitude were recorded at the band's home studios. In this way, individual band members were very much instrumental in molding, shaping and reshaping Altitude up to the very last stage.

Fine tuning was once again in the skilled hands of Arno Krabman at Graveland studios. Jochem Jacobs added the finishing touches at Split Second Sound, taking care of the mix and mastering. As for the result: From heavy grooving opening track Paradise Nox (with a remarkably sparkling vocal performance by Marjan) through to the last dying note of title track and rollercoaster ride Altitude, this monumental album offers as diverse array of music that transcends the boundaries of many heavy rock related genres.

Short, compact, straightforward songs coexist with intricate, multi-layered songs that take their time to draw to a close. It makes for an album that is not so much a series of individual songs, but much more a kind of organic entity: music and lyrics challenging six gifted song writers in coming up with material to bring out the best in each other, whichever shape or form it might take.

Jens: "We set out to write music that captures our hearts or imagination, not necessarily songs that fit a typical format. We pretty much work as a democracy, so from the 40 odd tracks we started out with, the selection that made the cut is as thoroughbred an Autumn album as can be." The deliberate approach Autumn take to writing music and lyrics has a deeper motivation.

Mats: "We're pretty much an album band, having grown up in times when buying an album meant embarking on a musical journey, a thrilling adventure. Nowadays, you often end up with a collection of songs, some killers, some fillers.

For us, every note on this album has a purpose. Every second counts, so to speak." The band describe it as a yearning to return to past eras of epic albums, albums with a capital A.

Autumn's Altitude may prove to fit neatly into that category. And this collective has only just begun its musical journeys....