DAWN OF ASHES
After last year's spectacular return 'Theophany', it's good to see the Californian black metal / industrial outfit capitalise on their newly found momentum sooner rather than later. The result of which is another incendiary and heavy offering in the form of 'Daemonolatry Gnosis'. The symphonic elements this time are pushed to the fore while the black metal backbone is once again pushed harder than ever before.
The vocals are the most demonic too date and any resemblance to their earlier hellektro style is now 100% lost to time. There are still industrial elements floating within the electronic textures, but once again under the guiding hand of Anaal Nathrakh's Mick Kenny, the band continue to metamorphose into a more brutal and extreme incarnation.
The album is an unrelenting discourse in modern black metal. Sumptuous symphonic elements frame a core of blistering drums, violent guitars and throat wrenching vocals. Songs such as 'Gods Of The Antimonian Path', 'Guardians', 'Sermon From The Horned God', 'I Am Nephilim', 'Rulership Of The Inner World', and 'Magick For The New Aeon' provide the album with a solid metal back bone that shows a great leap forward in their song construction and execution. While tracks such as 'The Initiation', and 'The Ritual' provide nice, if short, counterpoints to the metallic mayhem with their sinister symphonic industrial construction building tension nicely.
The only track that doesn't really work is the pretty straight cover of Mayhem's 'Freezing Moon' which, while heavy in its execution, lacks a lot of the individual stylistic elements that makes the previous eleven tracks really pop. It may have faired better hidden after an outro that book-ended the core tracks to be discovered.
The production is nice and heavy. It's always great to see the signature of someone such as Kenny so perfectly interwoven with a band's sound so as to create something big and bold in its own right. 'Daemonolatry Gnosis' picks up pretty much where 'Theophany' left off, but pushes everything harder and faster this time round.
This is a big step, perhaps even a milestone in the development of the band. Whereas 'Theophany' was an exciting and visceral push forward, 'Daemonolatry Gnosis' is a consolidation of their intent into a focused and brutal assault. Dawn Of Ashes are very much a black metal beast now. And while it would be interesting to see how they reconcile their older sounds moving forward, it is safe to conclude that if they can continue on this path and incorporate that previous progressive and experimental mindset of their early work, then there should be no limit for Dawn Of Ashes.