DAWN - The Eternal Forest - Demo Years 91-93 (CENTURY MEDIA - LP 2014)
And yet another compilation, which gathers early demo recordings of an old, long time inactive band. Yes, I know that some of you may feel already pushed away by all those reissues, etc, but who cares… nobody stands there with a gun pointed to your head, forcing you to buy this stuff. I personally like many of these compilations, old album reissues, boxes or whatever, so I also buy many of them. Not all, as some are of bands, which just don’t mean anything to me, but quite few are just worthy to get reminded. Here Century Media picked up an old Swedish crew once called Dawn. And once I have found out that there will a demo compilation of Dawn I knew I will have to get a copy… Why? Well, I really like Dawn’s “Slaughtersun (Crown of the Triarchy)” album! And also the two previous to “Slaughtersun” materials are great. But I know Dawn as a melodic black metal band, so I was really curious about their beginnings, about the three demos, which they did before “Nær Sólen Gar Niþer For Evogher” album – an album, which brought a change of style, from typical death metal to more black metal stuff. I never had a chance to hear any of Dawn demos until this compilation was released, so this is why I just had to get myself a copy. “The Eternal Forest - Demo Years 91-93” came in various versions, starting with the CD and two vinyl versions, one of which I got for myself. The vinyl may not be released in any special way; it is very simple, actually, contains just an insert with the demo covers, info about them plus several archival photographs. Nothing more, really, but I guess it is decent enough… So, let’s check what was Dawn like in their early beginnings!
“The Eternal Forest - Demo Years 91-93” exhumes three demos: “Demo 1” from 1992, “Apparition” from 1992 and “Promotional demo” from 1993. The second of these demos was also released as a split with totally unknown Mexican Pyphomgertum and for this split it was renamed to “The Eternal Forest”, so now you know where is the title for the whole compilation coming from. In total we have 45 minutes of old school stuff, so let’s go!
Everything starts with “The Eternal Forest / The Apparition” demo and damn! This is just amazing, godly stuff! I have heard many positive and great opinions on this demo and I can finally hear what these people meant. It truly is a superb material, it is vicious, aggressive, often fast but also relatively melodic and dark death metal, which I think I can compare to such bands as Uncanny and Fulmination and even slightly to such Swedes as (early) Dissection and Sacramentum, which is no surprise I guess. Anyway, this is a superb demo, for example the first song “In the Depths of My Soul” sounds so damn awesome that I can only say it sounds perfect to me. And then there are also another great hymns like “Incantation of Unholyness”, which starts with great melodic theme and then speeds up into some fuckin furious death metal. I guess that when I listen to “Incantation of Unholyness” I can mention only one thing, which I think could have been done better and that is the sound and loudness of the snare drum in the fast moments. It is not totally wrong, but maybe if it was more quiet then it would be better. Anyway, “The Eternal Frost / The Apparition” is great. All songs sound fantastic, I love the riffs, the arrangements, the atmosphere and ferocity of the music of Dawn on this demo, so yes, even if it was only for this one demo, this compilation is already worthy to get. And if you like melodic, but vicious and fast death metal in the classic Swedish vein, then it will sound awesome to you as well.
Side B brings the two remaining demos, starting with “Promotional Demo” from 1993. This demo sounds alike to “The Apparition”, so the similarities to the melodic death / black metal and bands like Uncanny, Fulmination, Sacramentum, A Canorous Quintet and even to a very early Marduk will be audible, of corpse. I must say that I again like the music a lot, but also production here is just awesome, as this time the band recorded their songs at the famous Unisound Studio with Dan Swano and that was always a sign for something great! “In the Depths of My Soul” is the best song here, I think, but the entire material is impressive and classic Swedish death metal demo from the old days.
Finally the last demo… well, this one sounds most rough and archaic, if I can say so. The sound quality is typical for the old death metal demos and also the music is very typical for these old days. When compared to the future recordings, you’ll realize there are no melodies as much, no harmonies or black metal atmosphere, but the whole is just a shredding brutality (as their old flyer was saying hehe!), sometimes it’s almost kind of grinding death metal. It is in the same vein as demos from Abhorrence, Convulse and all the other Scandinavian stuff. There are just two songs on that demo, but I like it a lot. I like the feeling of such old demo tapes. They don’t need to be original or professionally recorded; usually it is the atmosphere and that energy, what makes them sound so damn awesome and special. And it definitely is the case here with Dawn’s debut demo.
To conclude then – yet another fine compilation. This LP may not be released in such an impressive way say Abhorrence “Completely Vulgar”, but who cares… The music is truly awesome here!
Final rate: 80/100