|Review: Dawn of Relic - Lovecraftian Dark|
Label: Season of Mist
Year released: 2002
Review online: November 24, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 3.87/5 (77.33%) (15 Votes)
Second CD by this very cool Finnish band sees them veering much more toward a Death Metal sound than on their last release. Whereas "One Night In Carcosa" was pretty perfectly balanced between Black and Death Metal, this is much more a melodic Death CD with some BM flourishes. That said, despite sounding different from their last, this actually a more solid and consistent album.
I liked "Carcosa.." a lot, even if it was a little disjointed at times. Some people compared that album to Children Of Bodom, and while I didn't agree with that, I could see that there was a general similarity with the vocal styles and the melodic riffing. Since most of the songs on that album were written long ago, I was curious to see if the band could do as well on a shorter schedule. I needn't have worried. "Lovecraftian Dark" is more straightforward than its predecessor, but it is also tighter, more aggressive, and more focused. After the expected synth-intro "Dawn Over Carcosa" the band hammers out the opening barrage of "Masquerade Of Sickness" and almost snaps your neck with the sheer heaviness of the riffing. Dawn Of Relic have only backed off a little on the melody, but they have cranked the guitars up to eleven and kept them there. The guitar tone is wonderfully visceral and reminds me a little of Entombed's "Clandestine" in places. And it doesn't let up from there, as each succeeding song - "Throes Matrix", "Phosphor", the awesomely hooky "Watchtower Son", the colossal "Wail Of The Tartarean Wells" – each one builds on the song before it, building a monolith of evil. The female vocals on "Awakening" calm things down a bit, but then "Bowels Of Murder" comes snarling out at you and it's pedal to the metal time again. This is just a collection of consistently great songs. Vocals are a rather raspy scream as on the last album, but they are mixed more evenly with the other instruments, and I guess Mika Tonning has just improved as a vocalist, since I actually like his vocals here. Normally I hate the screamy kind of harsh vox, but these are really good.
The bonus material is the last three tracks, which are apparently from a demo the band put out between albums. I have to say these songs aren't bad, but they lack the energy of the rest of the album. They are more varied and experimental, more in the vein of the last CD, but I just don't like them much.
The packaging is excellent, with all the cool lyrics included. (Do I have to mention these guys are into HP Lovecraft?) There are no band pictures, which is actually kind of cool, as it creates a little mystery. The cover is nice and creepy, fitting the whole dark, horrific theme.
Rare for a band this musical and talented to be this brutal and thrashy. I've pretty much had this thing in continuous rotation since I got it a week ago, and I see no sign of that stopping anytime soon. This is an excellent CD from a very talented band, and I recommend it to any fan of extreme metal. This is crushingly heavy but with a degree of melody to make it memorable as well as ferocious. A first-rate disc. Get it.
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|Review: One Night In Carcosa (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)|
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