Sunday, September 24, 2017

Vinyl Review: "Unlawful Assembly" by Dawnray'd

Unlawful Assembly
This is a hard review to write. The idea that something may be left out, that something may be said improperly, and that offenses will be caused, but I have a choice and my choice is to write what I think and what I feel.

Art is never created in a vacuum. Even bands that claim that they're apolitical, do have political undertones to their music because a single fact: Our politics isn't simply whom we vote for but our very selves in every day life.

Presently the game show host, who's been elected President of the United States of America, is attacking men and women of color for their peaceful protests on fields of play.

Weeks ago, he said, in not so many words, there were some very fine nazis in the Charlottsville, NC protests. He's been attacking American citizens for their use of their First Amendment rights, all the while ignoring the plight of 3.5 Million Americans in Puerto Rico.

In my hometown, there are daily protests of the Jason Stockley Verdict. Stockley, a former police officer, was found not guilty by a judge even though there was video of him saying "I'm going to kill this mother fucker" when he was in no danger.

These assemblies are, in the end, being deemed unlawful. The protests are getting bigger and bigger.

Listening to Unlawful Assembly made me think of all of these things as I was listening to the music while reading the lyrics.

As the music moved on, my thoughts were, are they saying what I think they're saying? In time, it turned out they were. The lyrics told tales of oppressed minorities and a complicit majority who chose to ignore their pain.

The album feels like an awkward conversation between two people who don't know each other very well. One is trying to speak to the plight of the oppressed, but not willing to dive in too soon. So, dog whistles are blown.

Once the feeling out process has been completed, discussions of white male privilege and silence can begin. This is a feeling I know all too well. It's only been in the last few years that I can reconcile my personal privilege.

There are also songs about love, personal anxieties, and what it's like to watch and walk away.

But what worth does a musical statement have without the music? Kiss would've been nothing if they didn't have some good tunes to back it up.

Dawnray'd, even if the songs were about goblins and trolls, would have still made the best black metal album I have ever heard. I say this unequivocally. This album is truly wonderful.

Not to put too a fine a point on it, but it's Atmospheric American Black Metal. There's lots of droning chords with forced vocals on top. There's nary a guitar solo to be found on either side of this record. There are several spectacular string solos.

They're not played through amps or guitar effects, but played straight. Their morose qualities make the music just that much more powerful.

Vocally, for the most part, there's the standard black metal growls. In passages where a greater power is required, there's a full bottomed, nearly death metal, delivery that makes the songs just thump.

Then to close out either side, there is a very mellow song featuring none of the black metal droning, and showcasing some beautifully melodic singing.

Halo of Flies has unleashed an amazing record onto the world. I repeat myself, this is the best black metal album I've ever heard.

The packaging features a spectacular wrap around painting for the cover art in a gatefold cover with the lyrics printed inside. Make sure you read them.

There are three editions of the vinyl: clear, gold, and black. As you can see in the video below, my copy is gold because personally, clear vinyl doesn't do much for me once it's on the platter.

Summing up, it's been announced this album has been picked up by Prosthetic Records for the CD release, but who reading this is interested in the CD? Am I right?

It's a great disc. My gold copy sounds like god himself through the system. Do not miss out on hearing this record as a record instead of passing it up for digital files.

Do not hesitate.

Release: 10/02/17
Genre: Black Metal
Label: Halo of Flies

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