I’ve seen a few people the past few weeks complain about music writers injecting personal politics into their work. That’s their right to be put off by that. Reality tells us something different. These are bad times. People are being sickened. The government lies and crimes have climbed to an unprecedented level, and we even are seeing people make excuses for those who hope to hold others down. If not now, then when?
If politics in metal isn’t your thing, then perhaps steer clear of Northern England black metal band Dawn Ray’d. They wear their views all over themselves. They’re in their DNA, every fiber of their music, and rocketing from their mouths. They call their music anthems for the upcoming class war. Visit their social media outlets, and you find a band—defiantly and honorably—lashing out against the disgusting silliness that is NSBM and the scourge that is fascism. Their amazing debut full-length “The Unlawful Assembly” is made up on 10 tracks of passionate, folk-infused black metal chaos that refuses to take a seat while facing oppression of others and vile viewpoints that were relegated to dark corners of society before people in power enabled them. This is music we need right now, especially in a black metal world where there are artists and fans who take the extreme opposite viewpoint. The band—vocalist/violinist Simon B, guitarist Fabian D., and drummer Matthew B—created a document that stands in the faces of forces that sicken and blacken the good elements of mankind and stages a revolution that would eradicate the true evil forces that mar this world. The record is out now in the U.S via Halo of Flies and the UK from Feast of Tentacles, but the band recently signed with Prosthetic, who will put out the CD version a little later this year.
Opener “Fire Sermon” swelters in string drone before a gruff bark signals fiery times are here. The band pummels forward, with violins cutting into the chaos to add a sorrowful texture before the storming erupts again. The tempo pulls back and forth from calm to blazing, with the final moments hammered home and bleeding into “The Abyssal Plane.” Violins lead the melody surge before the band opens up properly and lets the assault move forward. The melodies and vocals provide ample thunder, while the strings add a Celtic edge that seeps into a sound vortex and right into the mouth of “Future Perfect Conditional” that begins clean, as if the morning dawns after a violent night. Violin scrapes across before the band starts to pummel. The wild shrieks match the furious pace ideally, and later growls gurgle as if choking back bile. “You heard the call and you did not answer,” Simon B howls, “You heard the cry for help, and you turned away!” That frustration and anger ramps up as the song bleeds over and finally comes to a crushing end. “Emptiness Beneath” sits in a sound bank before a melodic gallop is unleashed, and razor-sharp riffs lead the way. “Let the fires burn as a signal that our community won’t fail to protect them again!” Simon B wails, a testament that actions against them will be met with blood. “A Litany to Cowards” is a folk-driven end to the first half of the record, as acoustic guitars, strings, and Simon B’s clean voice power this one, as he accuses, “You chose the weakest to shoulder all the blame.”
The second portion kicks off with “A Ceaseless Arbitrary Choice” that floats before it detonates. The vocals tear at flesh, while the riffs flood the scene, and strings come in on the back end for atmosphere. Here is another case of the tempo pulling back and then hammering the ground again, as deathier growls are emitted, and the lighting blinds before fading. “Held in a Lunar Synthesis” lets black metal gush in, as the verses emit speed and chaos, and a melodic, barbaric assault pushes the song ahead before it steers into a noise halo and somber strings. “Strike Again the Hammer Sings” has a string-rich burst at the start before the track rains down heavily and causes your head to feel the pressure. A sequence of calm arrives to let in some cool breeze, but then it gets shredded again. The vocals are a cascading collection of screams, while the song comes to a clobbering end. “Island of Cannibal Horses” has a clean start, letting the intensity slowly build, and then the walls are blown apart. Passionate cries tear from Simon B’s mouth, as he calls, “The streets are ours now, and we have every right to uproot them,” while the band delivers a deluge of pounding that’s impossible to avoid. The madness eventually is swallowed by a barrage of acoustics that stretch out to the end. Closer “A Thought Ablaze” is much like the closer of the first half, a folk-infused song that has raw singing, rustic guitars, and violins spreading. The words are pointed as always, as Simon B vows, “My heart has been tormented, but broken it will never be,” a rebellious statement that no matter how hard the forces above them try to destroy their will, they never will surrender their mission.
Dawn Ray’d already impressed with their great first EP “A Thorn, A Blight,” but this first proper full-length “The Unlawful Assembly” expands upon their vision and mission even more. That the band is an incredible black metal force with moving songs obviously is important. But the fact they carry a message that lashes back against the government, the upper crust that would just as soon keep its boot on the throat of the unfortunate, and nationalist scum makes this record more impactful and one of the most important metal records of 2017.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/dawnrayd/
To buy the album (US), go here: http://www.halooffliesrecords.com/label-releases/halo105-dawn-rayd-the-unlawful-assembly-lp/
Or here (UK): http://feastoftentacles.bigcartel.com/
Or here (coming soon): https://store.prostheticrecords.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.halooffliesrecords.com/
And here: http://www.feastoftentacles.com/
And here: https://prostheticrecords.com/