Dawn Ray’d are one of the Uk’s most important bands right now. The liverpudlian trio’s blend of punk’d out black metal and folk music on a monumentally grand sounding scale, paired together with lyrical themes of Anti-fascism and Anarchism was a breath of well-needed fresh air to myself and others too, gauging by the meteoric rise they seem to be on, which only seems to getting bigger and bigger.
After many months of patient waiting, epic live performances across Europe and the US and many teases of an album between then and now, Dawn Ray’d return with their first full-length epic The Unlawful Assembly. The album consists of ten tracks of blistering black metal that doubles down on both the ferocity and the epic folk soundscapes of their previous work.
Split into two halves, named ‘The Wild Service’ and ‘The Wild Magic’. Each half is packed to the brim with blistering blast beats, necksnapping riffs and a vocal performance that could set a church ablaze. Each half ending with a folk based track featuring some newly added clean singing, which provides a beautiful contrast between the ferocious black metal and the epic folk soundscapes reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings soundtracks.
Alongside expanding on the ferocity of the music, lyrically the themes are on the same lines as their previous work but on a bigger scale. Themes of prison liberation and attacks against the church state stand tall alongside songs of anti-authoritarianism and smashing fascists, providing a stark call to arms with a passion that is crudely missed by most bands of a similar genre. Whilst not straying too far from their previous works, the amount of progression shown throughout the record is staggering, showing that even within the confines of black metal, boundaries can still be broken.
A record sporting the subject matter that fills The Unlawful Assembly is necessary right now. In a time where you find fascists walking the streets sporting Nazi salutes without fear of reprisal. Where anti-fascist protesters are seen to be as much the problem as the ones spouting racial hatred and strife amongst communities. Where protesters can be killed in hit and run attacks over the removal of a statue built upon a time of racial inequality. Where police can be filmed murdering innocent people from their own cameras and receive the equivalent of a slap on the wrist for it. Where most people would shy away from social commentary such as this, Dawn Ray’d put it to the forefront of both the band and the members themselves.
With The Unlawful Assembly, Dawn Ray’d have created a truly memorable, modern, classic record. A record that not only showcases progression without abandoning or sacrificing the anger, integrity and standard they set themselves so highly. A truly magnificent piece of art that showcases the best of what black metal, and the UK Scene as a whole has to offer.