Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Beyond Dawn - Pity Love 1995

To this day this album still sits well apart from any similar artists that I find it hard to keep familiar with the album. Its the perfect step taken after the prior ep being a bit more developed in the dreary and abysmal department with a vivid parlay into more unique playing, arrangement and atmosphere. The album is good at towing the line between never galloping too gallantly and trudging along heavily and sluggishly. I find a lot of maturity in the more consistent nature of Pity Love as the band finds a more bombastic and powerful inertia to their doom trodden 90's rock sound which incorporates several electronic elements to the fold. As a debut this album is a good indication of great things to come, yet dissimilar to anything else in their discography apart from the EP.
In a recent interview with Espen (the singer) an interviewer called his voice detached and distant. I thought this was as accurate a description I could muster, but along with it I would say there's a discouraged, and almost mocking tone about his sultry and underexerted style of singing. The way his vocals, the guitars and horns mesh and harmonize on all of these songs is what I reach in the cupboard for when I have the Beyond Dawn munchies. He really is a unique singer maybe more for what he doesn't do than what he does, but I have a hard time tearing the guy down when he can be so different without relying on cheesy melodies or being a memorable caricature of himself. Come to think of it a lot of what I like about Beyond Dawn is their confident reluctance to be appealing by normal means. Every instrument lends itself to the overall "sold as-is" demeanor of Beyond Dawn.

The guitar work never overbearing or inaccessible is intricate and tasteful. Sometimes clean, clever pedals and production give a vast effect to what could easily be somewhat monotonous playing given the repetitive nature of this mid paced and "doom-esque" music. Either way, I give a lot of merit to this band for giving so much life and power to the sour and plodding music they breath life into. Ive never heard music utilized to put such urgency and strain on an imminent depraved state of consciousness.

Pity Love is where most from the metal community step into Beyond Dawn's realm, but I find it merely the first of several significant full lengths from this band, and a great access point to the rest of their albums.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Longing for Scarlet Days 1994

Many things impress me about this ep but what struck me at first listen back when I first got this was how out of left field it was, and how thoroughly well arranged and played it all was. Its like nothing else I've ever heard, but it almost sounds like its an album better belonging to some genre I'm not familiar with.

Sonically the music offers a lot of what metal does and it creates a somewhat familiar atmosphere of downtrodden despair as you might find with Paradise Lost or Disembowelment. However the way they go about I would liken more to something like Swans on the Great Annihilator (which came out in 1995). There is a certain washy, breathy and compressed direct analog sound (like on Ride's "Nowhere" album) that lifts this and Pity Love to another level. The drumming is quite varied and mid paced and borrows heavily from whatever standard styles some hard rock or grunge drummers might reference frequently. This is one thing I think that keeps this band from being downright metal. Better than any other band in this plane Beyond Dawn use horns to great effect here, even more on Pity Love, and throughout their discography. Another reason this ep is so impressive to me.

Though there are only four songs and the last track is sort of more of an outro, the vibe established here is undeniably fluent and had this been a bigger release overall, I'd say this was hugely influential on a lot of bands who are doing "post-_____" these days.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Beyond Dawn: Reviewed

Today I was listening to the local country music station on purpose as I do from time to time, just to reflect on the music and get my thoughts flowing. From what I can gather there exists a traditionalism or rebellion towards any progress or deviation from the known patterns and footsteps that have been taken before. I thought that this was what sucked about modern country but within seconds I realized that not only does this standard flourish in all music, but a lot of metal as well. I have often thought that black metal is something that the genre's musicians feel the need to live up to. It has become a costume that you are entitled to bear only if you play the known role well. Actually anyone is entitled to bear it but only few do it well. Anyways one of my main goals with this blog was to highlight bands who I appreciate for acting somewhat independantly of these get-ups.

My relationship with Beyond Dawn has been strange over the years, and rightfully so given their incredibly varied discography. I reach for different albums at different times but they all give me a great satisfaction I've come to savor in this great and overlooked band. I want to do something unique here so I've decided to review all of the Beyond Dawn albums over the coming days, weeks or months. So look for something on Longing for Scarlet Days soon and more soon after.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Svenske Metall

I have been on a Swedish black metal kick lately and I wanted to share some of my favorite gems with you. I know a lot of this stuff could be considered classic and some of you aren't familiar with any of it. So I wanted to shoot somewhere in the middle. This handful of songs highlight their tendency for tasty melodies and intricate percussion, as opposed to other Swedish acts such as Watain or Ofermod. I stayed away from the obvious Dissection, In Flames, etc here. Also please try to ignore any Peter Tagtgren production here.

Download here