Dawn Of Relic - Lovecraftian Dark
Season Of Mist
Melodic Dark/Death/Black Metal
14 songs (58:00)
Release year: 2003
Dawn Of Relic, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Crims
Surprise of the month

Here is an interesting CD from Finland’s Dawn Of Relic. Recently this band was signed to Season Of Mist, which seems to be churning out a lot of quality bands from a broad spectrum lately. None have really blown me away yet, but the quality is definitely present. Dawn Of Relic’s Lovecraftian Dark is no different in this regard. The CD is broken off into three chapters and follows the stories and tales of H.P. Lovecraft. Each chapter offers a slightly different style and approach to the song writing, which gives us a varied listen.

The first Chapter, Throes Matrix, consists of 7 tracks, one of which is the intro. This portion of the CD is definitely the most aggressive and harsh. The vocals almost entirely consist of a Death Metal style that at times reminded me of the vocals in God Dethroned, as the tone and phrasing is somewhat similar. The actual music is an interesting combination of Melodic Black Metal, in the vein of Born Of The Flickering era Old Man’s Child and Siebenburgen, with Dark Metal and Melodic Death breaks. In short, the blast beats and black metal inspired melodic riffing is complimented with heavy, almost Melodic Death guitars, and Dark Metal breaks in between. The tempos and moods vary often and the whole package, which also includes subtle keyboards, provides us with a textured and engrossing atmosphere. The keys themselves are relatively low in the mix compared to the guitars but they are definitely there and in the case of Scions Of The Blackened Soil add a lot the music. Obviously, this isn’t the traditional, blasphemy induced Black Metal style, but rather a band that uses recent Melodic Black bands as an influence to compliment the atmospheric Dark Metal sections with something harsher. I feel it works very well for Dawn Of Relic and gives them a somewhat unique sound, as they aren’t totally brutal nor totally atmospheric… rather, somewhere in between. The drumming during the fast sections is very impressive as well, especially for a band like this, and the fills are all over the place when done. Later on in the first Chapter some of the brutal aspects disappear in favor of dark melodies, such as on Watchtower Son, which sounds more influenced by a band like Rapture or old Katatonia, albeit a little faster and not as plodding. Watchtower Son would be a taster of things to come in the second Chapter.

The second Chapter starts out with The Awakening. While not quite a 180-degree turn, the style is definitely different. Containing mostly female vocals and a more gothic atmosphere, The Awakening is sort of like a “where the hell did this come from” type of song. The female vocals are well done and even though it’s not my favorite song on here, the keyboard+guitar melodies in this song have been stuck in my head non-stop for the last couple of weeks, so Dawn Of Relic is doing something right. This Chapter, entitled Themes Of Stifled Screams continues on with three more songs. Though rather short, this second Chapter is even more varied than the first one. We had the aforementioned The Awakening and after that track comes Bowles Of Murder. Almost sounding like an atmospheric Melodic Death band with this song, Dawn Of Relic really seem to know how incorporate various musical aspects into a sound that is still common throughout the CD. Chapter two finishes off with the epic The Wail Of The Tartarean Wells and It Dragged Her To Dark. The former is the longest song on the CD and features a lot of change-ups and build-up and the latter features clean male vocals that are done very well. In fact, the clean vocals are so well done I wonder if they could have made the opening tracks even better if used, meanwhile, the actual song is more along the lines of straight Dark Metal.

Chapter Three, called The Story Of Rose Haven is a re-working of early demo material (or so I'm to understand). The styles on the three tracks found within are more in the vein of the Dark Metal, mixed with a Melodic Death sensibility. The songs feature female vocals, clean male vocals, and the harsh vocals. These songs are rather catchy and well done, plus, they finish the CD off nicely.

My only real complaint with this CD lies within the different styles employed. While each is enjoyable to listen to and the CD is made less dis-jointed with the advent of the “Chapters”, the opening tracks have a certain unique flair about them; and likewise, the latter tracks while being very well done aren’t as unique and follow a path already laid forth by other bands. I suppose it’s small nitpicking, but it is nevertheless present and thus I can’t overlook it. Otherwise, this band is very successful as the melodies, riffs, drumming, leads, and vocals are all very well done and I’m also glad Dawn Of Relic didn’t go overboard in the keyboard department. I’d really like to see the band focus on their more aggressive side while throwing in clever atmospheric breaks and perhaps the clean vocal styles in the future, simply because in my opinion songs like Masquerade Of Sickness and Throes Matrix are the most memorable and fit the band the best.

Killing Songs :
Masquerade Of Sickness (The Eve Of Reckoning), Throes Matrix, Scions Of The Blackened Soil, The Awakening, The Wail Of The Tartarean Wells, and Snowfall
Crims quoted 86 / 100
Alex quoted 80 / 100
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