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Dawn of Dissolution - Divine Award winner

Dawn of Dissolution
Divine
by Kira Schlechter at 07 July 2020, 4:17 AM

It’s always fun when you discover people in one context that then shifts to another equally pleasant context. I first discovered Joseph Martin when he served as the touring guitarist on the most recent North American swing of Finland’s WOLFHEART (and did a bang-up job). It’s no accident, then, that he subsequently called on producer Juho Raiha (of SWALLOW THE SUN and BEFORE THE DAWN renown) to helm his own project, DAWN OF DISSOLUTION.

He serves as lyricist and songwriter for the Houston, TX-based melodic death metal band, and “Divine” is their just-released debut EP. The four-track effort starts acoustically with “Shaped By Fire,” daintily picked and strummed and intimately and warmly mixed. When the heavy crush settles in, it keeps the melody (built on and enlarged at each pass through) and tempo of the acoustic part. After a brief return to the acoustic, but with a different melody and feel, it gets under way in earnest. Indeed it resembles WOLFHEART stylistically, especially guitar-wise, but without the overt folk and classical influences. The influences are clear – the song has that familiar swinging groove and gets very dense before the chorus (including what sounds like very faint strings) – but Joseph’s growl is a bit less guttural and less acerbic. The musical movements are sharply defined, and the guitar melody in the stirring chorus is sublime. The drum sound is unique in that it’s kind of really bassy and huge and full, at times a bit fuzzy even. There is a naturistic bent to the lyrics here, but it could also be taken as the creation of intellect perhaps, or drawing a parallel between the creation of the earth and the creation of intellect.

“Frost” too starts acoustically, this time with intimate piano and guitar, but we go quickly into thundergod territory with that rapidly strummed main riff. The verse is sharp and smartly delivered, punchy and precise, preceded by that main riff. There’s another stunning, lilting chorus, but maybe an easing back or defining of that buzzing drum mix would bring forth its lovely melody more clearly – that’s purely a technicality, though. After a brief acoustic interlude revisiting the first, it gets almost bright and optimistic in the solo section – the switch-up in tempo is done without a breath, but the band knows to keep it brief and return to that main riff again because we want it. The last chorus is huge, with a hypnotic grip you never want to end as that chiming strumming just buries itself in your cerebral cortex. Lyrically, it hints at environmental disaster – the line “the great new plague” hits a little too close to home these days.

“Behold, I” bursts off, nothing acoustic here. The verse carries that fiery musical idea but shifts into a nearly bouncy tempo in the chorus (and there’s less of the fuzz effect on the drums). The later bridge is majestic and bold; the guitar melody is striking and evolves throughout, returning to musical themes in different ways. The end riffing is cleverly punctuated and mimicked by Adrian’s snare, which holds its own against it. This seems to have a personal bent in some ways, like of getting over grief and/or bad times (“Mourning turns to morning,” like there is an end in sight and hope can return, and “into dawn the inferno I am,” like the cleansing that happens at the beginning of a new day).

Finally, “Divine” also starts acoustically, and when it heavies up, it mimics the melody just enough for a smooth transition. That luscious slow crush, my tempo of choice, layers guitar and gets bigger and bigger and more emotional. The chorus is set up with it each time, and when it comes, it’s so rewarding because you’ve been hoping it would return. Prefaced by big chords, the end gets a little chaotic, but there’s enough of those operatic chords in there to guide your way. The theme here might be about transcending emotion, like pain and anger, by trying to be more, indeed, divine, and how difficult that is (“Like sacred wisdom/Hardest of all”), about putting aside that anger, painful as it might be, to achieve forgiveness (“The form of the power we have/It holds like a torch/Raising high to the sky/Within us all while/Scars burn in flesh/Draining of souls/The names written to/Forgive and forget”).

To keep to just four tracks in a first effort is wise, especially four really strong, carefully crafted ones like these. The spirit of Scandinavia has found a home in Texas.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Shaped By Fire
2. Frost
3. Behold, I
4. Divine
Lineup:
Joseph Martin - Vocals, Guitar
Anthony Jones - Guitar
Adrian Socaciu - Bass, Backing Vocals
Adrian Galindo - Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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