Throes of Dawn - Binding of the Spirit
Avantgarde Music
Melodic Black Metal
8 songs (45'59")
Release year: 2002
Throes of Dawn, Avantgarde Music
Reviewed by Alex

I did not know where Throes of Dawn are from (and still don’t know as I am writing this) when I picked up their promo. However, once music came pouring in I knew they are from Scandinavia. This style of melodic, majestic, nature inspired black metal is unmistakable. Contrary to the recent wave of activity in the US black metal scene, many Scandinavian bands go for less chaos, more polish in the production, and, certainly, let melody carry the load. Unfortunately, some of this makes up for one big flaw. Everybody starts sounding like the melodic side of Dimmu Borgir. I wouldn’t confuse Throes of Dawn with the world famous Norwegian crew, but those of you familiar with the works of Catamenia, early Dismal Euphony and Covenant (when they were spelled right and played good music on Nexus Polaris) should find the sound very familiar. Catamenia would really be a very close reference point.

Half of eight compositions on the album are mid-pace synthesizer laden melodic pieces. To be entirely fair, I have to say that almost all of those melodies are interesting. Catchy, astral, northern landscapes shaped, they create a wonderful atmosphere. It is too bad that synthesizers eat up the guitar sound, except in a few solos. Quieter acoustic moments let the guitar shine through a little more. Drumming is not mind boggling, but is actually quite tight. Forgive me for saying this, but my music description above, minus the vocals, doesn’t even hint black metal. Those compositions would be, gasp, radio friendly rockers. So, just to prove me wrong, and make a statement that they belong to a Darker Side, the singer goes out of his way to sing in black metal style. Shrieking, scraping, vomiting words, turning his guts inside out – you know the drill.

OK, that is half the songs. The album closer is a frozen synth instrumental, so I wouldn’t spend much time there. The other three are different in style from the paragraph above, and, thus, merit closer investigation. Binding of the Spirit onto Earth is a slower, doomier piece with keyboards switching from frozen to almost symphonic. They could put the beginning of this song in the soundtrack to Lord of the Rings. With this slower pace guitar churns more powerful chords and leaves the impression. On Broken Wings of Despair is a sum of several parts: gothic intro with clean crooning and slower, sadder melody; clean atmospheric middle part with the electroacoustic guitar; a touch of the above melodic black style (not to forget the roots) and the gothic outro. My favorite piece on the album, though, is almost progressive in feel Master’s Garden. Hypnotic, looping guitars are knotted with keyboards by a number of inseparable interconnects. The drummer rolls out his most intricate work, and the solo is very technical.

One thing you can be sure of – Throes of Dawn will not surprise you with originality. With some of the compositions bordering on 8 minutes you can’t help, but think you have heard it somewhere before. On the other hand, it is an easy to get into music, almost relaxing melodic material, if you are not scared, of course, by overexaggerated black metal vocals. The whole album is just like their production - above average, but not earth shattering.

Killing Songs :
Binding of the Spirit onto Earth, The Hermit, Master's Garden, On Broken Winds of Despair
Alex quoted 69 / 100
Other albums by Throes of Dawn that we have reviewed:
Throes of Dawn - The Great Fleet of Echoes reviewed by Thomas and quoted 77 / 100
Throes of Dawn - Quicksilver Clouds reviewed by Jack and quoted 90 / 100
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