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The Last Sunrise - 80%

torchia, March 18th, 2012

The black metal history of the Emerald Isle makes for miserable reading, its pages populated by promising bands/projects who released quality demos and EPs only to be never heard from again. It's most probable that they were left utterly unenthused by the overall reaction to their efforts, or, as some online diatribes have suggested, Ireland has just never really understood black metal in the way our European cousins do.

Even the slightest amount of research into Ireland's strongest, lasting black metal acts will tell you that they're all manned by the same individuals; unrestrained vision, dedication and a detachment from the metal scene at large provide the feed for these projects that now enjoy veritable cult status next to some of the best known contemporary, underground, 'orthodox' black metal practitioners.

Dublin's Cold Grey Dawn slithered onto the radar in 2007 with their foreboding and enthralling 'The Blade Across Your Throat' demo. Complete with prerequisite barely visible cover art, grainy graveyard imagery and misanthropic song titles such as, "Culling the Human Herd" and "A Famine of Knowledge" (referencing the Celtic fable, The Salmon of Knowledge), it provides a mechanised, chilling listen.

The demo's title calls to mind lyrics found in "Chaos Prayer; Deus Bellum" ("…our lives each a blade across their throats..."), a track by Sweden’s excellent Sigrblot, found on their 2003 full-length. It succeeds in conjuring the same sense of unease, of unhappiness with the status quo, while commenting on an urbanised, routine existence of induced nihilism; a pointless, miserable journey leading only to the grave.

Cold Grey Dawn's cacophony reverberates constantly, like the world's audio through a sea shell. Its quality is other-worldly and echoes long after the demo terminates. Clanging, distorted guitars and bass meander around snappy, crisp, minimalist percussion, while rasped vocals add to the sense of claustrophobia and shuddering tension just beneath an ever-taughtening surface. A murky, genuinely oppressive and unnerving atmosphere shares a similarity with that found in cult survival horror video game, Silent Hill.

Unfortunately, the act seems to have gone the way of arresting, solid acts such as Carnún, Thrallenolc, Moonfog, Funeral Winter and Myrkr. While the members of Cold Grey Dawn may be involved in other creative outlets (musical or otherwise), for now, as the welcome, grim entity that the band embodied for Irish black metal, they're lamentably silent.