Thursday, November 12, 2009
Auspicium - Dawnland
Of all the material I have reviewed thus far, Auspicium's Dawnland has been the most perplexing and puzzling, the most slippery and soapy to describe -- all attempts at description ricocheting like tiny bullets off massive stainless steel breastplates. I've listened to this cassette 17 times without an inkling of how to describe its peculiar tone until this morning, watching the news broadcasts on hurricane Bill. Then it descended unto me with the weight of stone tablets falling from some fucking place in the sky: The perfect way to describe Auspicium's esoteric take on atmospheric black metal... and then I lost my pen. The pen I write each and every review with before entering it into my temperamental laptop had simply disappeared. I eventually found it in the backseat of my car under an empty Chinese food container, smashed between the side of the front seat and a gaggle of feather-like plastic shrink wrap from my most recent trip to the record store. Nerves once again settled, calmness returned, I realized that in fact, my whole experience prior to actually reviewing Dawnland was appropriately planned for me.
Auspicium's music is as wavelike as deadly hurricane waves or my angry frustration at trying to lift my ass awkwardly out of the back seat of my car without sticking my hand in some disgusting, moldy fast food remnant. The ebbing tides, intense one moment and sedative the next, fit Auspicium's sea focused black metal themes like a glove. One listen to Dawnland could give astute listeners that nauseating, seasick feeling. The rolling of Auspicium's waves is completely unique, working for Auspicium's mastermind, P.A. Hasson, like a convict for the man: really fucking hard. Though subtle on most of Dawnland's tracks, opener "Shoreline Rose" gives true life to the aforementioned lunar fluctuations. Ghostly, the song's complex array of depth and textures mimic the experience of drowning. Heavily effected vocals do little to create any warmth, instead sucking all the heat from the depths of the murky track, sounding like a mournful eulogy spoken to a drowning victim from the dying's point of hearing. A heavily emotional opening track, complete and forceful through its atmosphere and courageous in its structure, drums and true percussion, showing signs of life only near the very end of this song. Everywhere else phantom rhythms perfect for nights of copious alcohol consumption or drug intake.
"Cold River" marches distinctively into the epic seawall that is "Mountains of Pamola." Sullen and seasoned, broken and beaten, the abused embankment crumbles under constant frothy rolls of salty water. And as each jagged block breaks from its ancient place and falls into the sea, it travels through the abyss only for its future resting place to call to its next tenant from fathoms below. Though the song doesn't flow nearly as well as "Shoreline Rose," "Mountains of Pamola" is the most metal song available with hearty servings of distorted blasting and evil and depressing melody. Another strong song indeed, though perhaps there could have been a better placement as the Current 93 inspired "God Forgot My Name" closes Dawnland rather weakly and, more importantly, noticeably since the track is all acoustic and follows the albums most tornadic track.
Some may argue that its placement and lack of intensity is perfect, fitting into the wavelike pattern; another trough to follow another crest. To them I say, "Cork that expensive bottle of wine and grab the cheapest shit beer you can find." Sometimes its all right to simply let one go for the sake of fucking shit up. For the sake of metal. Rogue waves aren't mythology anymore either. No matter how you view the waves though, rogue or not, Dawnland is an incredible achievement. It's been known to pull swimmers in and never let go.