In some circles, the not-quite-household name of Dawn is as highly regarded as that other mid-90s Swedish black metal band that starts with a ‘D’ (hint: not Dark Funeral). Dawn’s 1997 LP Slaughtersun (Crown of the Triarchy) is a maelstrom of strophic, almost apocalyptic black metal that falls somewhere between the seminal Storm of the Light’s Bane and rather less feted but comparably icy Far Away From the Sun, by Sacramentum. Aside from a titular preoccupation with celestial weather patterns, the three bands share an atmosphere of transcendent grandeur that has been virtually unequaled in the years since, despite many imitators.
Where Dawn diverges from the others (facial tattoos notwithstanding) is in its origins–rather than bursting onto the scene as a fully-formed black metal revelation, Dawn’s first days were spent in the cavernous depths of death metal. This wasn’t ragged around the edges or seasoned with d-beats like Nihilist and company, but rather the splashy, tremolo-frenzied kind of death metal that other Swedish artists like Unanimated would capitalize upon in a few short years. Dawn’s 1992 demo Apparition highlights this style, and particularly the dynamic vocals of Henke Forss–booming lows or seething shrieks–on the opening cut, ‘In The Depths of My Soul’. The entire demo, at least those on the compilation discussed below, sound surprisingly vital for 1992, but one should expect nothing less when Dan Swanö is at the controls.
If a better opening statement exists in metal than the first minute of that song, I’ve not yet heard it. The Apparition demo would later be repackaged in a split with the Mexican group Pyphomgertum (ostensibly Demilich worship), with Dawn’s half being called The Eternal Forest. Yet another repackaging–the best yet–would come in 2004, a 2CD compilation of nearly all Dawn’s relevant releases, with retrospective liner notes from bassist Philip von Segebaden, full lyrics, and full-page spreads of past record covers, the band, etc. All hail Necropolis Records.
In their transition to black metal, Dawn would actually re-record ‘In The Depths…’ for their 1994 debut LP, Naer Solen Gar Niber For Evogher. The transformation was a dramatic one, and rather sudden. This new version echoes the Dawn that would take full flight on Slaughtersun, but heard back-to-back with the original, it is found wanting.
Aside from their “day jobs” in Dawn, various members would succeed in other side projects: Henke Forss is perhaps most famous for his session work on In Flames’ Subterranean (arguably their best release and not incidentally the least like In Flames); bassist Philip von Segebaden played with cult bizarros Afflicted; and Tomas Asklund, in the good tradition of all Swedish metal drummers, has played with a bevy of black metal giants such as Dissection, Dark Funeral, and more recently Gorgoroth 2.0 (the Infernus package). Rumors of a new Dawn record started swirling a number of years ago, and a new rehearsal track (see: the sensational ‘The Fourfold Furnace’) was even posted to their website along with encouraging, albeit infuriatingly brief, updates. But the resurgence was short-lived; the last update to their site was in 2008, and hopes for a new record are today waning.
Yet, perhaps if we all
pray hard enough watch enough YouTube videos and talk about it on obscure blogs, Henke and the boys might hear us and get back in the studio. Here’s hoping.
I believe the quote is “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” Well Mux didn’t have to pull very hard to be honest. In fact he just asked and I said sure. What is on the agenda to write about on here for me? Fucked if I know. Hell I’m open to suggestions from you the reader. I might be doing a review of Grave who are playing next Saturday. Due to my work schedule being in flux to put it mildly I can’t guarantee my attendance. Not that I do much of anything with it but if you are the Twitter kind my handle is @KyleHuckins213. Well it was a pretty damned good introduction to death metal for me so I might as well steal it for here, although I first heard it with Barney on the Live Corruption VHS. Enjoy.
Napalm Death – Control
Disincarnate’s “Dreams of the Carrion Kind” didn’t make much of a splash with me when it was released at the end of winter in 1993. James Murphy was a household name in death metal but for some reason, I (and apparently a lot of other people) didn’t hear what Murphy was trying to tell us with those 9 tortured hymns. I kept going back to the album every year or two and while I held my original opinion for a long time, every time I listened to it, I liked it a little more. A few years ago, it finally clicked for me and I now regard “Dreams of the Carrion Kind” as one of the finer death metal albums. It was reissued in 2007 and now seems to be fairly well-known and widely revered.
What’s less known is that “Dreams…” wasn’t the first thing Disincarnate did. Their “Soul Erosion” demo was recorded in 1992 and that release’s version of “Stench of Paradise Burning” appeared on Roadrunner’s “At Death’s Door II” compilation (which kills and will be posted about sooner than later).
Three songs appear on “Soul Erosion”:
- Stench of Paradise Burning
- Soul Erosion
- Confine of Shadows (Demo) (mp3)
The production is obviously several steps below the incredible treatment the album got, but the demo is still worth listening to for it’s raw performances and bass & vocal heavy mix. I remember being very excited about Disincarnate based on the “Stench…” track on the compilation but disappointed in the album, which felt too sterile and clean. In hindsight, they’re both great and worth listening it. Repeatedly for years, if necessary.
The purpose and scope of this blog is uncertain, in a constant state of flux and subject to change at any moment. For now, it’s going to serve as an outlet for my recently rekindled love of twisted, obscure, old-school death metal. Not kids playing homage to the greats, but the greats themselves, and (usually in my case) the unsung heroes and minor contributors to the scene. Everyone’s heard Morbid Angel. Less have heard Morgoth. And only a lucky few have heard Morgue. Hopefully we can rectify that a bit.
And so, to kick things off, here’s a taste of Morgue’s excellent 1993 LP, “Eroded Thoughts” which is due to be reissued on CD and vinyl by the end of the year.