Published on Thursday, 30 April 2015 21:41
Band: Dawn Of Oblivion
Album title: Phoenix Rising
Release date: 25 April 2015
Label: M&A MusicArt
01. Demons Of The Cross
03. Catherine Wheel
04. The Black Pilgrim
05. The Pathfinder
06. Within The Realms Of The King Of Amur
07. My Nihilistic Dream
08. Path To Gehenna
After an almost ten years long hiatus the Swedish band Dawn Of Oblivion returns with a new album to teach a lesson what's really about gothic metal. The band formed back in 1991 which derives from gothic rock waters on this, their fifth studio album shows a huge progression in their sound, becoming heavier, gloomier and more atmospheric, while still obtaining that special gothic rock flavour that characterized them on their previous albums. Those who followed the band during the years have certainly noticed that their previous album, The Final Chapter, was out in 2009 during the bands hiatus and it features the tracks already recorded until 2004. I believe that it was a tough job for Dawn Of Oblivion to return under the same name after they've already released a farewell album with such a title, they had to do something special, not only mucic wise but as well how to name the album and what kind of lyrics to write. They did it just right, although the title, Phoenix Rising, is not something really original it perfectly fits to describe their second birth.
Phoenix Rising is a work that leads the listener through many different emotional, dark and mystical states, and thus serves with many musical variations all centered around deep gloomy and atmospheric gothic metal. Even though Dawn Of Oblivion don't discover any new territories soundwise, they carefully blend those typical 90s gothic metal lines, so familiar to the maestros of the genre like are Tiamat and Paradise Lost, with some guitar riffs used by Therion on Theli or Vovin, and to make the thing even more audacious and sinister they add a pinch of black metal and doom elements on a couple of occasions, but yet at the same time they don't forget that their heritage is in gothic rock. Many elements could resemble to The Sisters Of Mercy or even more to The Fields Of Nephilim. Still, some oriental vibes, like used in the miffed iconic goth metal piece "Anubis", or floydian ambiances in the emotional and soothing "Within The Realms Of The King Of Amur" that are similar to those used back then by Tiamat on Wildhoney or on A Deeper Kind Of Slumber make their sound special in many ways. Plus there's a lot more to discover but Dawn Of Oblivion have managed to build up with ease such a strong and compact sound that leaves nothing by coincidence, plus in a strange way offers an intriguing highly addictive gothic metal sound and an aspect of how it should be played.
The frontman Victor got my sincere respect with his performance on this album and already on the opener "Demons Of The Cross" serves with a wide range of vocal variations, from clean deep singing to raspy baritone, black metal kind of shrieks and aggressive guttural voice. Later on on the album you'll hear also some whispering vocals which are certainly something we rarely heard from Victor. All of this just adds so much to the overall dynamics of the album. On a couple of occasions Victor gets a company of backing vocalist Sara Olrog, but unfortunately you must really pay attention to hear her contribution and I'm sorry because of that because her job on the track "Walpurgis Night" from recently released sigle EP Anubis was marvelous. Then how powerfull are those mostly melodic guitar riffs and how nicely are those leads connected into the whole picture, just listen to the catchy and hard driving "Catherine Whell" or the speeding up "Path To Gehenna" and you'll get what I mean. It's often that the guitar lines goes into the true classic gothic rock style, for example in a certain part on before mentioned "Path To Gehenna" or on the almost epic and very emotive nephilimian smelling "Years". Everything is frequently accompanied with punishing, sometimes almost bombastic drum beats and it makes the ambiance very dense and filled up. As well thanks to the murky yet vibrant bass lines and gloomy spheric keys, some electronic elements, piano touches and diverse synth ambiances, even when the tracks exceed the usual lenght everything remains intriguing.
I mentioned before doom metal elements and those are well heard in both, the slowly building up sombre "The Black Pigrim" and in the next one, "The Pathfinder", where you'll hear as well some tribalistic rhytmic approaches and such a dim occultistic atmosphere that you'll be hooked by those almost cinematic deviant horrific soundscapes. I was completely surprised when the alternative rock/metal elements converge so greatly with Paradise Lost kind of drive, a bit similar to what we heard on Icon, in "My Nihilistic Dream", yet this one absolutely stands behind its title. Well, all in all Phoenix Rising is a great return for this Swedish band and one of those must have albums for each and every fan of gothic/dark metal and goth rock music. Consider also the good, in a way rough production, which in my opinion could be just a bit more clear, and the mastering done by death/thrash metal legendary guitarist James Murphy (Death, Obituary, Testament,...) adds the necessary aggressiveness and leaves kind of a dim 90s mark on the sound. Dawn Of Oblivion with this album showed that it's still possible to make astounding things within the gothic metal realms.
Review written by: T.V.