This review will begin with a short questionnaire. If your answer to one or more of these following statements is affirmative, close this window and go ahead and buy the CD. If none of these following statements apply to your person(a), please read the full text.
1.) …interested in the full production of the band BEYOND DAWN and/or a completionist of the aforementioned orchestra.
2.) …interested in the early evolutionary stages of that which is now called Avantgarde Metal, and/or the bands taking up where CELTIC FROST left off after Into The Pandemonium.
3.) …interested in/a completionist of the early stages of Norwegian Extreme Metal to which “Black” is not applicable.
4.) …interested in/a completionist of bands working within the early ’90s style of Gothic Death/Doom Metal.
As stated in the introduction of this brief survey, if any of these statements apply to your person(a), there is no need to read any further. Visit www.duplicate-records.com and order this CD now. The following part of the article is for those readers who have not yet been convinced of their need to own this CD.
BEYOND DAWN was one of the least compromising Metal bands of the Norwegian 1990s, which is a time and space noted for its massive upsurge of highly uncompromising and singular Metal bands. As you all know, probably. From their early days of Death/Doom Metal, via their near-symphonic Doom Metal and acoustic days up to the “traumatic electro rock” of the weird swansong which is Frysh, BEYOND DAWN kept to themselves stylistically, in a country where the Black Metal template was near rule. Now, forming member and drummer Einar Sjursö (also in VIRUS, LAMENTED SOULS and INFERNÖ) has begun to rerelease BEYOND DAWN’s complete production, including many previously unheard tracks. First in line: Bygones.
Bygones contains much of BEYOND DAWN’s more metallic, pre-début album material, most of which has been sold out for years upon years. Whether the label’s statement that this is Avantgarde Metal is an anachronism or not I am not sure, the term was hardly in any wide circulation in the early 90’s, but there is hardly any fault in using the genre tag retroactively. Pivotal to this collection are the first four tracks, which are lifted directly from their 1994 EP on Adipocere Records, “Longing For Scarlet Days”. Obvious traces from British bands like ANATHEMA and PARADISE LOST can be heard, in their mournful and slow yet often melodic and rocking metal. But most important is the influence from CELTIC FROST and their seminal Into The Pandemonium – perhaps not musically (though there are a few “Ugh!”s in there), but in the attitude towards the music; to break borders, be inventive, telling conformity and conventions to go to hell. Weird looped guitars, the epic soliloquy of Dag Midbrod’s trademark trombone; the band desperately wanted to break free, and they did. The trombone is especially sweet in it’s sombre solemnity – epic without pomposity. Espen Ingierd’s very familiar clean voice comes through sometimes, but there is some very apparent debts to ANATHEMA’s Darren White and Tom G. Warrior’s mourning complaints on the aforementioned Swiss masterpiece.
(Actually, “Clouds Swept Away The Colours” bears quite a resemblance to what their countrymen WINDS would do seven years later.) This little EP, 18 minutes and a half, shows off a band finding their style, a diamond in the rough carving a path for themselves and themselves only.
Next up is the 1993 single Up through The Linear Shades, BEYOND DAWN’s first label release (also on Adipocere). A-side “Strained, Down And Under” is a schizophrenic and somewhat immature piece – the Death Metal past is clear here, with furious blastbeats, growls, but with a flurry of twists and turns; much rock n roll is hidden within seven minute piling of riffs. Much is owed to early DARKTHRONE, pre-BM days – the progressive Death Metal riff structures, the complex rhythmic patterns, all remind me of Soulside Journey and Goatlord, with perhaps a little less focus on brutality; you still hear slight traces of what BEYOND DAWN would become amidst the rumble. The two following tracks, the unreleased “Utopia” and poetically titled rehearsal “Glass Desert” were obviously composed adjacent to the 7″ EP as they retain the same style and focus. A young band caught in their ambitions to create something new is heard; by today’s standards perhaps not that exciting, but given that the recordings are at least 16 years old, I would accept something far inferior in both quality and originality. BEYOND DAWN wanted to break free of the mould of a Metal scene in its early teenage years, a youthful spitting in the face of conformity, and they managed without sounding contrived or overly pretentious. Quite a feat for any band at any time.
These bygones (though they are far more than that) end with the two closing tracks of BEYOND DAWN’s second demo, “Heaven’s Dark Reflection”, two brief explosions of ravaging Black Metal (with some deathly progressive leanings), a short burst of prehistoric poetic aggression, lovely in its immaturity.
Despite this release’ magnificent showcasing of many nearly forgotten AGM treasures, I can’t help but becoming slightly miffed about the incompleteness of the thing. The main focus is of course on the Adipocere releases and the two unreleased tracks, but from the two demos they released, only the second one is represented, by two tracks of five minutes total length – the two demos amount to 40 minutes of music, most of which is left unheard, when the album released is only 46 minutes! The earliest works are probably musically abhorrent, as most demos are, but with this release out I am sure that the demos will never be released again, which is a shame. But honestly, that is a minor complaint – what Einar and Duplicate serves us here is nothing short of a feast for anyone into BEYOND DAWN, early Death/Doom Metal, early Avantgarde Metal, early Norwegian Metal, or heavy progressive music in general. A short feast perhaps, but a feast. So… buy it!
Release: Summer 2009
Label: Duplicate Records
Avantgenre: Assorted Early Progressive Death/Doom Ramblings
Official site: http://www.myspace.com/beyonddawnofficial
Review online since: 11.08.2009 / 10:44:30
(1-4: Longing For Scarlet Days, 1994.