Sun Worship – Pale Dawn

8 Production
9 Composition
8 Mood
8 Instrumentation

It might be strange to start a Sun Worship review talking about water, but water demonstrates exactly what this record is about. Imagine you’re strapped to a waterboard. You feel the sensation of each drop of water hitting the exact same spot on your forehead. It drives you mad. Now imagine someone spraying you with a garden hose. You feel the small tickling of little drops on your skin, and it gives you a different, more pleasant experience. Now finally imagine the moment you take a bath, and you immerse yourself into a big pool of water. You quickly loose that sensation of touching the water, and at some point you don’t even feel the water anymore because you became so accustomed to it. “Pale Dawn” holds a similar experience. Where people often think black metal to be (un)pleasantly stimulating, in one way or another, Sun Worship take the stylistic elements of the genre, stretching them out for miles, creating a different black metal experience.

RELEASE DATE: 06 May 2016 LABEL: Golden Antenna Records

It is commonly believed that when you’re in the water, you’re more likely to get sunburned, and burned you will be by this record. If there was one word that could describe “Pale Dawn”, it is FRANTIC. The trio of drums and two guitars never stops raging and it’s a rarity when you hear something that is NOT blast beats and tremolo picking. “Pale Dawn” is a total envelopment of sound, which is not strange considering that the band mentions kosmische musik and the berlin school as major influences. When you listen to songs like “Sun Rain” by Ashra, the overall atmosphere is not far off from the spacious sounds of “Pale Dawn”.

Lyrically, each song is a diffuse exploration of its title, characterised by feelings of oneness with pain, despair and the universe. The band does not shy away from black metal cheese, with texts being blurted out in fractured sentences  and containing lines like “I carry guilt. I carry grief. I breathe despair.” The themes on this record are not very unique, but I did not necessarily want to review this record because it was so original. “Pale Dawn” signified for me the joy of rediscovering black metal, and I wanted to share that joy with this community, because I think, if you love post-rock and you love noise or experimental music, black metal isn’t such a stretch to grasp after all.

Sun Worship are being praised by multiple sources for being good emulators of American black metal bands, and it is true that the band didn’t go all-out post-black metal. In stead they created an atmosphere that goes beyond the things that metal stands for, and into the realm of ambient and drone music. The record is not extremely brutal, and neither extremely melodic. “Pale Dawn” holds the middle ground, and while expanding from the inside, it crosses over into other genres in a profound way.

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