I expect this is a name that means nothing to most people, and why should it? No advertising whatsoever anywhere for a self-released debut album, dreadful publicity that required me to bother the artist to mail me a copy from the backwaters of Australia and pay more in shipping than the actual cost of the CD (don’t worry, you can still get a copy from iTunes if you aren’t as picky about holding physical copies as me); it’s almost as though they don’t want you to listen to this album, yet you should do. Very much so. These boys from the land down under are hardly newcomers to the scene and the moment I mention “Dred” I expect a few more ears to perk up; a Tech Death/Thrash outfit that made waves in the underground with their debut EP, it wasn’t long before they had changed names to Ouroboros and released a disappointing debut following the loss of guitar mastermind Denis Vlachiotis who wanted to pursue his solo project. And now we have Sorathian Dawn; 2/3rds Ouroboros but with the guitarist and vocalist behind the infamous “Bane of Isildur” here to make his mark.
It’s not just the line-up that has seen a change, however, gone is the old way of doing things and in comes the new; a Progressive Black Metal style filled with all the blast beats and tremolo riffs you could ever want, but don’t think they’ve completely forgotten their past, each musician seeming to bring their own influences to the table. There are hints of the old Death Metal and Thrash littered about; the pace occasionally slowing for an Epic Doom like tone, lulling you into a false sense of security before returning to it’s frenetic pace; even Viking Metal and Melodic Death Metal styles makes an appearance with the same sense of groove and rhythm, bombastic drumming and biting blackened vocals retaining an incredible sense of clarity. Each element is incorporated so subtly that it never feels out of place but meshed within their overarching compositions, using the inherent versatility within Black Metal to state their case, progressing gradually from one state to another.
The fact that they manage to accomplish all this is largely down to the phenomenal drumming, who even amongst such accomplished musicians manages to pull out all the stops and prove he’s not just capable of blasting, but able to change the tone of the entire piece at a moments notice; slowly bombastically pounding a beat like a war drum, creating a sense of epic power before crashing it down with a grooving thrash beat or blackened blasts; cymbals flying in a cacophony of anarchistic noise or more restrained and precise in their target. Fills flying everywhere and everything produced to perfection, each kick resonating so powerfully that it’ll send your heart pounding to the rhythm (those with pacemakers beware, this album might kill you!) and each drum hit powering the tracks forward regardless of the manner they’re playing.
It’s all the guitars can do to keep up, displaying plenty of love for the art of tremolo riffing but never reliant on one particular note, actually performing riffs as opposed to the pure wall of noise some artists can be considered guilty of; mixing things up with galloping riffs, “Gothenburg” style catchy hooks and epic chord progressions, each time utilising a slight tremolo to the tone to yield a warbling liquid like tone, as though you’re listening to them whilst someone is trying to drown you by dunking you head first in that strip club’s toilet with a broken handle, and all you can hear is the cries of the man overseeing you; a man who might as well be some form of demon screeching lines about the depths of Satan and of the occult that you wish you couldn’t make out as well as you can. Certainly they’ve matched the monumental debut EP as “Dred” all those years ago which is rather impressive in itself, but is this their magnum opus? Somehow, I think these boys are just getting started.
Highlights: Venom of the Typhonian Might, Born in the Blood of Kings, Enter Armageddon
About the Author
Position: Reviewer, Ranter, Reluctant Co-Editor
Location: London, England
Genre Preferences: Progressive, Avant-Garde, Experimental, Technical, Djent, Trad, Black
Favourite Artists: Adagio, Anthem, Baroness, Chthonic, Death Angel, Decadence, Fjoergyn, Gargoyle (Jpn), Haken, Kalevala, Leprous, Lucifugum, Pin-Up Went Down, Plus-Tech Squeeze Box, Project Hate MCMXCIX, Redemption, Sigh, Sikth, Tesseract, Thy Catafalque, Von Hertzen Brothers, Zigoku Quartet
Having held an internet presence using this alias for over a decade now, odds are if you've come across the name in the past it was myself. As for my musical history I suppose it's appropriate to say I arrived on my obsession backwards, for years holding little more than disdain and derision for a genre so seemingly obsessed with pointless brutality over composition; the likes of Deftones, Korn and Slipknot that serves as an introduction for so many flooding my musical palette, deterring my interests and yielding my only interpretation of what the genre involved. Ironically, it was Cannibal Corpse's “Vile” that first corrected me; played at high volume at a youth club by an elder metal fan angrily pushing the bleeding ears of the Green Day fans away from the stereo. I left that day clutching borrowed copies of Children of Bodom's “Hatebreeder,” the aforementioned Cannibal Corpse album, Metallica's “Cunning Stunts” on VHS and a whole new musical interest.
Arriving at a number of forums, I soaked up knowledge like a sponge, progressing through the stages of opinionated idiot to an arrogant elitist on a crusade before finally calming down, chronicling the last four years of my journey of discovery with self-published reviews. In the decade since my initial discovery, my tastes have mellowed and expanded to encompass most of the metal genre and beyond, constantly in search of something new and exciting, always seeking to expand my own musical knowledge. Black Metal with a Didgeridoo? Death Metal Disco? Trance Metal? Sign me up. I also have a strange obsession regarding the music of Asia, but I can't explain that one.
I have long since devoted far too much of my time writing - much to the amusement of my family who note the science-obsessed child now does far more writing than the English Lit. student - and have been self-publishing reviews since 2008; archives of music reviews can be found here and Film can be found here, though since joining Axis both have largely become defunct. I'm a keen globetrotter and, too, document my travels here, on an old blog originally designed to publish a novel that was abandoned due to time constraints.