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“…Gathered are they… the wolves from the North”
I’m listening to “Dawn of the Dying Sun” and I have two things to say in the beginning. First is that this album is simply a killer follower to “…Again Shall Be”, which was Hades’ classic debut LP. I still think that “…Again…” belongs to the most important Norwegian black metal albums from the early 90’s. Secondly, I am frustrated, because I have the original vinyl version of “Dawn of the Dying Sun” released by Full Moon Productions and this LP simply sucks, speaking of the pressing quality! Not only the whole stuff looks poor (no insert, no lyrics, etc), but the vinyl sounds simply bad. There are some disturbing noises in three songs, which almost ruin the whole album! Not only the vinyl itself sounds quite mediocre, speaking of the sound quality, but it also has that static noise! Can it be worse? Shame, as I said. Of corpse there was also a second press LP, released by Witching Hour, as a double LP with some bonus tracks, but I never bought it, when it was available, so now I am left with this shitty LP from Full Moon Prods. Damn, I know “Dawn of the Dying Sun” also from CD and it sounded way better than on this old vinyl. So, lesson to learn: get Witching Hour LP version asap and then waste this Full Moon version.
Great shame that there are all these problems with LP, more so because “Dawn of the Dying Sun” is such an awesome album and it surely equals “…Again Shall Be”. Musically it is a rightful continuation of the debut LP, so again Hades hits us with their blend of rough and obscure black metal spiced with the epic and monumental playing and almost majestic atmosphere, with their Viking themed music. In many ways “Dawn of the Dying Sun” feels even more bombastic, more monumental to the debut, and that is probably because firstly it is completely devoid of any faster parts and secondly these riffs here are simply crushing and barbaric. Plus the production, which is so unlike to ANY OTHER ALBUM (!!!) you’ve ever heard before and after. Yes! “Dawn of the Dying Sun” has truly outstanding but also unique, very dirty sound quality and it may take you a while to get use to it, but once you do then it will only unveil some truly excellent songs. And to describe the album with one sentence, I would call it incredibly harsh and raw, monumental Viking / black metal. Epic masterpiece. It is obscure, slow, but aggressive… it has great majestic feeling and more so, it also is quite melodic in some parts. Two tracks are my real favourites: “Awakening of Kings” and “Crusade of the Underworld Hordes”. The first one is a real killer, maybe even Hades’ best song ever, with truly outstanding riffing, which is accompanied by nice acoustic background (I simply love how this song begins!) and awesome harsh, sick vocals of Janto… This song sounds just spectacular, has such an amazing atmosphere and is nothing more, but a greatest hymn to the North! And “Crusade of the Underworld Hordes” is the first song I heard from this album on a compilation CD back in 1997 and it is definitely the most aggressive, most powerful track here, these riffs in it are so damn heavy, so massive, but still very memorable.
I mentioned two songs, but to be honest I think that the whole album is just flawless and Hades once more recorded simply perfect album. I can mention some more killers: “Pagan Prayer”, “Alone Walkyng”, the title song… “Apocalyptic Prophecies (The Sign of Hades)” (with some really great parts of keyboards!)… There’s a strong influence of Bathory through the whole album, but the style of Hades has been taken way further, into more obscure and heavy territories. It’s like a combination of Bathory, Enslaved, Aeternus, Immortal first album, but different anyway. And we could discuss long why is this album so underrated… I feel like it is almost forgotten! If anyone mentions Hades, then it’s because of their demo and “…Again Shall Be”, not because of “Dawn of the Dying Sun”. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is truly superb release and one of my favourite Norwegian black metal albums of all time.
Standout tracks: “Awakening of Kings”, “Crusade of the Underworld Hordes”, “Pagan Prayer”, “Alone Walkyng”, “Apocalyptic Prophecies (The Sign of Hades)”
Final rate: 90/100
After three years from their great debut album …Again Shall Be, these Norwegian masters of raw Viking black metal released another excellent effort that can be easily considered as a milestone for the genre and their best album ever. If the debut was already very good, it’s with this one that Hades really reached their peak in creativity and goodness. This album is necessary if you want to discover the true early raw black/Viking metal because this band is unmatchable for obscurity and epicism. This The Dawn Of The Dying Sun album is a real milestone for everyone and a gem that must be re-discovered and appreciated once again.
Our journey begins with one of the fastest songs here, the title track. This song is the classic example of heaviness, obscurity mixed together with a massive dosage of epic influences on the guitars’ arpeggios. The bass drum is quite fast but, as you know, Hades never pointed on the sheer speed, preferring a more doom approach. The tempo is never so fast on this CD and all has been made to be as heavy and doom as possible. The black metal screams are always evil and somehow more suffered than the ones by other black metal acts at the time.
It’s amazing how it’s simple for a song like “Awakening of Kings” to transmit such emotions through simple but evocative epic passages that start with the bass to end in the ones by the guitars. Like in the past, the use of the acoustic guitar sound under the powerful and black carpet by the electric one is the winning point to create such good atmospheres. This great mix and opposition is perfect. The tempo is constantly changing but the main word is obscurity and they really point on creating apocalyptic but somehow melodic parts.
“Apocalyptic Prophecies” is far better when the keyboards enter in the middle while the other parts are a bit too generic but it’s not so important. In those parts, anyway, the black component is heavier and it achieved the goal of bringing more darkness to an already pitch black sound.
Finally, we arrive to the real masterpiece of this album. “Alone Walkyng” is the real hymn to the epic melodies alternated to raging black metal parts. The acoustic arpeggio is a little piece of history in this genre as well as the piercing cries by the singer. The melodic, acoustic parts are simply awesome and the following “Crusade of the Underworld Hordes” follows this path again with more great acoustic parts.
The clean choirs are never gaudy or a bit harmless like the ones by the other Viking acts, but they are almost occult and completely obscure, following the same sound’s direction. “Red Sun Mocks my Sadness” is great for its simple but evocative structure. It consists of flute sounds by a keyboard I think and the epic feeling is always perfectly mixed by the always present burden of sadness, preparing us for the massive “Pagan Prayer”. The guitars are so powerful and majestic in their slow march while the choirs are simply amazing. This tempo is almost ritualistic and the violins inserts are so original and suggestive. It could seem a strange thing but they go perfectly with the rest of the sound.
This album always astonished me and any time I listen to it it’s like a neverending pleasure. These Hades are one of the most underrated and overlooked realities in this field and I recommend this great album to those who wants to brush up their knowledge in this music and discover a truly important piece of music.
From Norway comes this release by Hades. Hades was one of the early Norwegian BM bands, and also one of the bands to take part in the burning of Fantoft Stave Church. Their hatred and contempt for Christianity and the modern world is all over this release which seems to look with longing back to a Barbarian age, this is less Viking metal then Barbarian metal, but there is also a very intellegent and subtle edge to it which helps to make it a more enlivening listening experience, rather then "barbaric" bludgeoning like most bands with that kind of conceptual territory.
The songs are usually with a mid tempo epic beat, with guitars that are played most often with a sense of dignity, less strumming then many bands, although there are some trem picked moments. The bass is present yet doesn't really exist too strongly. The vocals are buried under the massive amounts of guitars, but are very effective, reminding me much of Kanwulf's vocals in Nargaroth.
There is a lot of use of acoustic guitars, which sounds really good, and gives it a very atmospheric feeling. One can tell the biggest influence on this band was the Blood Fire Death album in particular the songs Blood Fire Death and A Fine Day To Die, the way the acoustic breakdowns sound and occur in the music. However they do go beyond their influences to create a very original sound.
If you like Enslaved's old cds but want something more atmospheric and a bit more darker then pick up this cd, it's hard not to recommend it, every about it is really good, and very medieval/barbaric feeling. Check it out.
Ever wondered how Immortal covering Viking-era Bathory would sound? Well, Hades (yes, Hades, this album was released before that piss-poor "other" Hades decided to make a comeback) provides a fairly good answer with The Dawn Of The Dying Sun. This is quite simply one of the most epic, atmospheric, complete albums i've ever heard. The music rumbles along at a leisurely pace, never picking up above a majestic canter, but of course, these guys don't need speed to impress. Instead, they crush you with loping, striding folk-laden riffs, flawless bass playing that weaves in and out of the music, pounding drums and half-buried tormented vocal screams.
The opening title track is quite short, and acts more as an intro to the majestic "Awakening of Kings", which is something of a tour-de-force. The third track then introduces more of a measured, ambient feeling complete with eerie synth infusions, before the epic reworking of "Alone Walkyng" (originally the title track of the demo tape) crushes all in it's path. This 10:28 alone is worth the purchase price of the CD. The next few songs are more of the same - this isn't really an album where any particular songs stand out, it's more of a constant wave of atmospheric brillance. The sole letup is track 7, "The Red Sun Mocks My Sadness", which is a brief, melancholic flute instrumental, which provides a momentary passage of calm before the final onslaught of "Pagan Prayer" finishes the job of crushing the listener into rubble... the song just keeps getting heavier and heavier, seemingly threatening to crush your ribcage, before suddenly erupting into a flourish of fiddles and violins, which sear through a few bars before peaking and.... end.
Perfect album? I don't think there's any such thing, to be honest... but this is very, VERY close.