's second and final album before their breakup epitomizes the Swedish black metal scene as it stood in the late 90s, full of sweletring and intense riffing with an acute sense of melody and style.
From the opening thirty seconds of the first track ("The Knell
and The World"), you will know you're in for something epic. Dawn
go for the "wall-of-sound" approach with their production, but at the same time it's never ill-defined or monotonous. The guitars are still razor-sharp and clear despite a healthy dose of typical black metal distortion, and the varied drum kit is booming and clear. No instrument is outright buried, in fact--even the bass, despite being low in the mix, can be heard, ocassionally drifting off into its own segments that stray from what the guitars are doing. Generally, the sound on Slaughtersun is like listening to an explosion with a sense of melody. It makes use of a lot more agression than is usually used in black metal, almost taking on a similar shredding tone of classic death metal albums. Not to worry, though--Dawn
still maintain the atmosphere and grace of a lot of the bigger black metal albums of the early and mid 90s. The album's ability to practically lift the listener out of their seat is defenitely something that black metal fans need to hear. The vocals play their part very well, sounding admittedly a bit thin compared to the density of the rest of the music, but their passion and anger are well-communicated, not to mention I find them quite intelligible for a black metal band.
Aside from this fury and intensity of the music, there's a lot going on in terms of melody. Many of the riffs here are incredibly memorable and great. Usually they're tremolo picked incredibly rapidly, but every so often there are going to be riffs that break outside of typical black metal to add a little extra flavour to the album. All of this along with the rare brief interlude makes for some great black metal soundscapes. Amidst the agression, a lot of passages are full of passion and are defenite heart-pounders and spine-tinglers. Most of the songs have a really good sense of direction as they progress from riff to riff, making it difficult to let your attention waver. With each song (except for the two minute instrumental track) exceeding eight minutes, there's plenty to pick out and enjoy that will probably lead to repeat listens. Grandiose theatrical riffs aided by a touch of sustained keyboard here and there along with great progressive moments (such as the middle sections of "Ride the Wings
") grab you out of their distortion and pull you right into the world Dawn
is trying to show you. Slaughtersun is an album of high spirits and a hell of a lot of fire power; more than enough to make bands like Darkthrone
wish they'd tried harder with their brand of black metal.
The only thing I can really think to say against this album is that, as a whole, it can seem a little long, with some of the songs just balancing on the edge of overstaying their welcome. In each case of this, though, a new riff that changes the direction of the song will come up and regain attention. Though I think a few songs could afford to be cut down to six minutes or so, for the most part the repetition isn't bothersome. There are times when I think that the band could have tested a little more variety, but they defenitely have enough that it isn't a big deal. Though they are a band with similarities to others within the genre, they are still able to carve a good niche for themselves that will defenitely interest fans of old black metal. After a few listens the grey areas here and there will seem to pass with more adrenaline. Dawn
know well how to produce highly melodic, atmospheric and epic black metal songs without going over into cheesiness, and despite Slaughtersun needing a few minor changes here and there, it's a very powerful album that gets better the more I listen to it.
atmosphere and atmospheric guitar leads that are highly immersive abound in Dawn
's final album, and are well-worth checking out for the black metal crowd. Dawn
's efforts are unfortunately mostly unknown to metalheads, but they shouldn't be. There's a lot of worthwhile stuff on Slaughtersun that preserve traditional black metal well while making strides for the band's sound. If you see it sitting in a CD store, buy it. Black metal fans, add this to your list of necessary listens.