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Good album for fans of the style - 85%

Heian, March 20th, 2004

I'll start off by making the inevitable Dissection comparison. Like Dissection, Dawn are a Swedish melodic black metal band. Many Dissection fans point to this album as a continuation of Dissection's sound. I'm going to stop the comparison here because it's a bit unfair, as the album should be discussed on its own merits.

It used to be extremely hard to find this album, so I'd heard many black metal fans talk about it in a reverential tone. They'd rejoice at having found it on ebay or in a used record store. Fortunately Necropolis re-issued this album so it's no longer necessary to scour every source possible to find it. The re-issue also includes another full Dawn album and 2 EPs, so it's a lot of value for the price of a single album.

Once you listen to Slaughtersun, it's obvious that it's black metal album, no question about it. One of the first things that stands out about it is the very lengthy songs, usually around 10 minutes apiece. What this means is a fair amount of riff repetition, which can be good or bad. On a few songs they'll start to get a bit boring and then an awesome riff cuts in and seizes your attention. There's usually enough variety within each song to keep it interesting. There are some absolutely killer riffs on this album, particularly in "Falcula", that break out of the traditional black metal mold. There are also some neo-classical and Middle Eastern sounding riffs in songs like "The Aphelion Deserts" and a very triumphant and epic riff in "Malediction Murder" that comes back to finish the song with a bang. These riffs are what propel the album above average black metal albums and make it worthy of repeat listens.

The production is clearer than a lot of underground metal releases in this time period, but it still has enough of an edge to it to make it black metal. All the instruments and the vocals are clear. The bass is more audible than on most metal albums and the drums are insanely fast. Thematically the band shies away from the goofy Satanism that a lot of black metal bands espouse. The lyrics are very dark but they don't have to rely on corpsepaint or pentagrams to make the music sound evil. This isn't to say that the band is wussy or (Satan forbid) pro-Christian, but they deal with more advanced subject matter than your stereotypical black metal band.

I'll mention Dissection one last time and say that fans of Storm of the Light's Bane will probably love this album because it continues the tradition of highly aggressive yet melodic Swedish black metal and does it with a high degree of skill and integrity. If you get the re-issue you get almost all of Dawn's back catalogue as well. They're supposed to be working on new material now, so hopefully it will be as good as this. The best songs on the album are "Falcula", "The Aphelion Deserts", and "Malediction Murder".