The UK black metal band Dawn Ray’d made a stunning advent last year with their debut EP, A Thorn, A Blight, a collection of six songs that my comrade Andy Synn described as “vivid and visceral”, an onslaught of “pure, refined fury and anguish, stripped down to its most basic, most human, form,” manifesting “supreme confidence and ruthless aggression”. And now Dawn Ray’d are returning with their first full-length LP.
The Unlawful Assembly is the name of this new album, and it’s projected for release in October. It’s divided into two parts, The Wild Service and The Wild Magic, composed of “equal parts malice and spite, and ethereality and exultation”. And today we present the album’s second track, an immensely powerful and multifaceted song called “The Abyssal Plain“.
Dawn Ray’d proudly wear their anti-fascist political beliefs and motivations on their sleeves, or more accurately, they wield them like mailed fists. They describe their new album as “a 10 song strong call to arms”, a collection of “battle hymns for the coming class war”. The record may be a multi-pronged attack, but it has “one consistent message: inaction is not an option”.
“The Abyssal Plain” reveals new strengths in the band’s strategies. Its atmosphere is one of bleak, grim majesty that rises to the level of that overused word “epic”, but without ever sounding calculating or superficial. To these ears the resonance of the music also recalls medieval melodies, slashed with sorrow yet possessing a kind of terrible grandeur.
Produced in a way that gives the sound a sense of staggering power, “The Abyssal Plain” surges like a storm, driven hard by blasting drums and deep, cyclonic riffing, with the melodies coming in a blend of ominous tidal swells and sparkling ethereal tones. When the drumming slows, the chords ring out deep and strong, conveying that sense of dark medieval majesty I mentioned earlier. As the drums later begin to pound and tumble, the lead guitar delivers a mournful but almost luminously beautiful melody, which contrasts with the barbaric fury that makes the song such an intense experience.
And speaking of barbaric, the vocals are utterly scathing and savage. I’m reminded of my friend Andy‘s description from his review of last year’s EP — “a venomously cathartic vocal performance that practically bleeds conviction”.
For more information about the release of The Unlawful Assembly, follow Dawn Ray’d on Facebook:
1. Fire Sermon
2. The Abyssal Plain
3. Future Perfect Conditional
4. Emptiness Beneath The Great Emptiness
5. A Litany To Cowards
6. The Ceaseless Arbitrary Choice
7. Held In A Lunar Synthesis
8. Strike Again The Hammer Sings!
9. Island Of Cannibal Horses
10. A Thought, Ablaze