If you started listening to Black Metal because of your disillusionment with mass-religion then recently you might find yourself frustrated at the hordes of ‘TRVE KVLT’ black metal fans who, like fundamentalist christians, mock LGBT+ rights, spew climate change denial and feign ignorance to global economic issues. A genre that has been so dogged by the far-right has recently seen perhaps a recent shift from full to nazism from the classic ‘keep politics out of music’ brigade who seem so happy to put up with the status quo and enable fascism.
Such a neo-liberal response and a sheltered view of society has been challenged by a number of artists and fans who make up what some have referred to as the RABM (Red and Anarchist Black Metal) movement. There may be no genre as fitting to address the morbid and forlorn times that we currently find ourselves in. There are many analyses of Black Metal’s ideological routes, but to many it has been about embracing a cynical view of the modern world and offering an angry voice up to challenge it.
Dawn Ray’d gained recognition with their debut The Unlawful Assembly in 2017. There was much praise but, as one might expect, it riled up a lot of fascists and fascist enablers. There were cries to ‘separate the lyrics from the music’, which would be to strip away one of the core elements of Dawn Ray’d’s material. Behold Sedition Plainsong is absolutely an album where the very essence of the tracks present is in their lyrical content. However, musically it is an album that stands out among its peers. Dawn Ray’d have used this album to showcase their own take on black metal which is both raw and atmospheric. There is a blend of folk music that layers emotion to the furiously angry tracks. The lyrical content hits hard when paired with the despair laden soundscape of black metal.
Each of Behold Sedition Plainsong’s tracks have been described by the Nothern-English three piece as ‘emotional response to a political struggle’. To Dawn Ray’d’s credit, each track’s passionate lyrics could be discussed in deep detail. The emotional stopping power of the lyrics comes to the fore on Track 5 ‘A Time For Courage At The Borderlands’, which addresses the recent refugee crisis, asking the listener ‘what if it was you?’. The macabre sound of the track makes it very difficult to not be moved. Other tracks are rousing and energising, the single ‘To All, To All, To All!’ echoes with the difficulties we all face in losing the majority of our lives to meaningless work. To not engage with the lyrics of Dawn Ray’d is to miss out on a very important black metal album.
This is a step up production wise from their debut, yet it does not detract from the vivacity that the album throws out. Dawn Ray’d manage to flesh out tracks across this album that combine hot riffs, repeated and catchy sections and of course the folk-tinge with the use of stringed instruments. Track 8 ‘A Stone’s Throw’ refrains from blast-beats and tremelo riffs, showing the true folk elements of Dawn Ray’d’s music with a cleanly sung and beautiful track. This is certainly a promising follow up to their debut, showing that their music is just as good and engaging as their lyrics.
Behold Sedition Plainsong is a fantastic album. It is poignant and relevant, demanding attention to the issues that are discussed throughout the lyrics. It will be interesting to look at the wider reaction to this album across the Black Metal community. Perhaps it will prove that a large number of black metal fans aren’t in the music to challenge true authority, but to follow their edgy desires to tell their parents to leave them alone while they lock themselves in their bedrooms to play WoW and blame their failures on foreigners, women, communists and everyone else who doesn’t harbour their abhorrent beliefs.
Behold Sedition Plainsong Is Released October 25th Via Prosthetic Records