Dawn Ray'd - To Know The Light review
|Album:||To Know The Light|
|Release date:||March 2023|
01. The Battle Of Sudden Flame
02. Ancient Light
05. Sepulcher (Don’t Vote)
06. Cruel Optimisms
07. In The Shadow Of The Past
08. Freedom In Retrograde
09. Wild Fire
10. Go As Free Companions
With their newest release, Dawn Ray'd demonstrate that folk black metal can work just as well as thrash in conveying pissed-off wishes of anarchy.
Anarchy in the U.K! No, not the fun, punk classic of the Sex Pistols. British three-piece Dawn Ray'd present viscous, anguished lyrical themes to complement the unforgiving black metal that they play. This genre seems to be labeled as Red and Anarchist Black Metal, or RABM. While I personally prefer my black metal in its Satanic, cosmic, Viking, or nature-oriented incarnations, I won't let that keep me from exploring something new. Still, going into the album, I didn't know what to expect. I was surprised that the first song "Battle Of Sudden Flame" wasn't about the conflict of the same name in Tolkien's Silmarillion, but rather deals with topics of police violence and the ensuing mobs that burn cars for revenge.
Every successive song continues these central themes of rebellion, anarchy, and anti-capitalism. Hell, even the band's merchandise on Bandcamp screams anarchy: see their merch with instructions on how to make a molotov cocktail. Let's hope that listeners will be responsible enough not to emulate hate-fueled terrorists, just as Slayer-enjoyers don't turn into crazed serial killers after listening to "Dead Skin Mask". I don't want molotov cocktails thrown in my neighborhood, regardless of the political views of the thrower. Anyway, after this short PSA of mine, let's go back to the tracklist of To Know The Light.
We've talked about the lyrical themes enough. What about the instruments? Sadly, this is where the album falls short, in a way. For the pure black metal parts of the songs, the tremolo-picked riffs are more lukewarm than icy, the vocal delivery contains fairly standard blackened yelps, and the drumming doesn't quite pack a powerful enough punch. However, the moments that positively stand out include folk elements that paint the striving for freedom in a more mournful light. "Requittal" has no instrumentation, and instead lets heartfelt singing take center-stage. "Cruel Optimisms" and "Freedom In Retrograde" showcase mellow, contemplative ambience together with somber, clean singing. My favorite song is probably "In The Shadow Of The Past" with its use of melodic violin playing and the diverse display of both death metal growls and black metal hisses.
Overall, the ideas are definitely going in the right direction, but there exists a stark contrast in quality between the bog-standard black metal pummeling and the more unique folk-infused melodies. In the end, To Know The Light comes across as a rather jumbled album as the band can't seem to decide whether to be aggressive or mournful. I've said in previous reviews that I appreciate when albums contain contrasting elements, but, in this case, the performance and songwriting of the calmer melodies are so much better than the mediocre blackened riffing. For the future, I recommend that the band stick to these elements that set them apart from the rest of the black metal crowd.
||Written on 31.03.2023 by|
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