Nov 202017


(This is Andy Synn’s review of the performances by The Infernal Sea, Dawn Ray’d, and Underdark in Nottingham, UK, on November 17, 2017, accompanied by videos he made during the show.)

I’m not sure why, but this November has been absolutely jam-packed with gigs, so much so that I’ve had to be a little bit picky about what I go to, and when, simply because of all the different pressures on my time and attention (not to mention my wallet).

But there was no way I was going to miss this one, considering that between them Dawn Ray’d and The Infernal Sea have produced two of the best Black Metal albums of recent years. Continue reading »

Sep 112017


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by the UK’s Dawn Ray’d, which will be released on October 2nd.)

Despite what some people might have you believe, Black Metal is not, nor has it ever really been, a monolith.

In fact if you look back at the early days of the scene, and in particular those responsible for laying its foundations, you’ll quickly become aware of the variety of personalities, approaches, and opinions which, collectively, contributed to the genesis of the nascent genre, while also planting the seeds for the variety of different styles and sub-genres to come.

Of course while the guiding principle of Black Metal may well be “do what thou will”, this doesn’t mean you can claim that anything is Black Metal. There are certain markers you still need to hit, certain rules you might say, that apply even here.

But within these (relatively loose) confines you’ll find a world of different approaches, different beliefs, different ideologies – from nihilism to humanism, asceticism to Satanism – all clashing and coalescing in a tumultuous display of pure passion and unflinching intensity.

Which is why, regardless of what you might think about their personalities or their politics, I have little hesitation in declaring The Unlawful Assembly to be one of the best Black Metal albums of the year. Continue reading »

Aug 212017


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“. Continue reading »

Aug 222016

Dawn Rayd-A Thorn A Blight


(Andy Synn reviews the debut EP of the UK band Dawn Ray’d, which is out now on Bandcamp.)

As our contributor Wil Cifer wrote recently, “Crust seems to be a hot buzzword when it comes to underground metal these days”, to the extent I’m even starting to see it edge out the near-ubiquitous over-use of the terms “blackened” and “Black Metal” in certain places (but don’t you worry, I have a whole other column percolating in my head about THAT particular topic).

It seems to be one of those terms designed to bestow instant underground-cred on a band, whether or not it’s actually reflected in any aspects of their music, and, as such, I’ve seen it crudely co-opted multiple times by bands and writers who don’t seem to know (or care) what it means, they just want the artificial credibility and cultural capital it bestows.

I’m saying all this as a preamble because I want to make it clear right away that – even though their unwavering anti-NSBM, anti-fascist stance and sharp, punk-edged sound certainly gives them more claim to the term than some others I’ve seen – gritty Black Metal three-piece Dawn Ray’d don’t seem to care one way or the other whether you call them “Crust” or not.

They’re just happy to let the music speak for itself. Continue reading »