The cover art of Autumn's Grey Solace's 2008 album is, contextually, a shock to the system -- fire imagery everywhere when the duo always seemed tailor-made for images of serene contemplation does make for a break from the past. But while Erin Welton's lyrics often touch on matters of betrayal and broken hearts throughout the album, matching the sense of angry emotional upheaval her fierce look on the cover suggests, Ablaze is, for better or worse, yet another Autumn's Grey Solace album -- which is a touch unfortunate to note at this stage of their existence. Having started out with the ghosts of bands like Cocteau Twins and especially Love Spirals Downwards hanging over their heads just by virtue of their general approach, their steps to establishing their own clear identity have been sometimes fitful but noticeable, especially on the immediately previous Shades of Grey. With Ablaze, Welton and Scott Ferrell seem to be at peace with their particular niche in that vein of rich guitar textures and serene vocals -- ultimately there's very little surprising on the album, but neither is there anything disappointing as a result. Within this context, Ablaze's 11 songs make for the pleasant listen it is, lyrical undercurrents tempered by the entrancing flow of Ferrell's guitar constructions. (The liner notes make a point of there being no keyboards and synthesizers on the album -- fair enough to make, but quite honestly it might not have even been noticed had it not been pointed out.) Songs like "Immortal Muse" and "Eternal Light" (itself one of the darker songs thanks to the bass-led growl on the verses from Ferrell), as well as the more sprightly acoustic guitar parts on "Sea of Honesty" are particularly noteworthy.