Dawn Of Darkness
Review by Felix on May 7, 2023.
Another chapter from the seemingly never ending story called “Sometimes They Come Back”: here is the second full-length of Old. Some dudes speak of this combo as an underground legend, I cannot say that I was crying myself to sleep each evening in view of their absence. However, 17 years after the debut, they announce the Dawn Of Darkness. Seven songs in 36 minutes, this configuration lies in close proximity to an album called “Hell Awaits”, but, of course, the Germans do not reach the dizzying heights of this eternal milestone. But it’s a first indication that this release could be a great one – and the omen doesn’t lie.
Okay, the pretty progressive approach of the aforementioned classic does not reappear here. Old have other idols. We get the aesthetics of early, morbid Celtic Frost and there is also a lot of Darkthrone (before they somehow lost their trace) in the sulphurous sound of Dawn Of Darkness. Inter alia the beginning of the closer 'Darkness In Me' bows down to these legends. Afterwards it develops its own individuality. Apart from this, Old do not fear to ride some attacks with full force and high velocity. There are no blast beats to be found, of course not. These “modern” gimmicks have no place here. The band’s name is still Old, not New! So it comes as no surprise that the songs vary the tempo within the more or less traditional speed regions. The fact that no machine gun drum tears the flow of the tracks apart brings some galloping guitar lines into full boom. Hellish happiness, this album shows signs of the spirit that brought the fantastic Eurynomos releases to light. It is this profound understanding of old, musty and almost rotten metal on the one hand and the ability to present it in a fresh outfit on the other hand.
I already mentioned the closer. It marks a solid ending, but the other tracks have more wicked strength and a higher degree of permanent malignancy. (I write malignancy instead of malice, because this was the name of the band that opened for Slayer on their “Reign In Blood” tour in 1987 – ridiculous posers in the wrong place at the wrong time.) My first highlight is 'Storm Of Depressions'. Its well-hung riffing emanates the vibrations of the second half of the eighties almost perfectly, and as soon as the guys slow down the tempo, the undead spirit of Celtic Frost whispers a cold “hello”. Maybe the final part is a bit repetitive, but frankly speaking, I like it so much that it is still too short from my point of view. Speaking of what I like, I also appreciate the fact the “old” trio is still active, Doomhammer, Horus and Reaper. The latter delivers the vocals. He does it in a cool way and his performance also does not hide the main influences of the band. But come on, this kind of worship just underlines the authenticity of this force which has been silent for much too long. If you do not agree, you are surely also of the opinion that Warhammer’s enthusiasm for Hellhammer was just a fake.
Anyway, Old are not interested in slavish, Warhammer-like imitations. They also do not focus on cheap effects. As an alternative, they prefer to offer another highlight with 'Tyrants Of Death'. Its lyrics are full of great cross-references: “Entering the orgasmatron… Bonded by blood with power and pain… Hell awaits”. (Ha, “Hell Awaits” again!) No new idea, but still a nice one. The following 'One Versus All' is a great piece of shifty vileness as well. Sometimes old Desaster shimmers faintly through its tones and that’s naturally a good thing. Moreover, this song as well as the following, also awesome 'Sombra Del Mal' shines with a raw catchiness.
Finally, the production deserves some positive remarks. The sound is full, warm and does not focus on infantile brutality. Moreover, it is also well-balanced between the sounds of the legendary pioneers of black (and thrash) metal and the listening habits of the nowadays consumer. Thus, I can recommend this unexpected comeback work. Yes, it is not the best album ever with seven tracks and a playtime of 36, 37 minutes. But it is a very good one, mature and adult, but vital and exciting at the same time.
Rating: 8.1 out of 101.50k