Friday, 24 October 2014

Hades - Dawn of the Dying Sun

HADES - Dawn of the Dying Sun (FULL MOON Productions - LP 1997)
“…Gathered are they… the wolves from the North”
I’m listening to “Dawn of the Dying Sun” and I have two things to say in the beginning. First is that this album is simply a killer follower to “…Again Shall Be”, which was Hades’ classic debut LP. I still think that “…Again…” belongs to the most important Norwegian black metal albums from the early 90’s. Secondly, I am frustrated, because I have the original vinyl version of “Dawn of the Dying Sun” released by Full Moon Productions and this LP simply sucks, speaking of the pressing quality! Not only the whole stuff looks poor (no insert, no lyrics, etc), but the vinyl sounds simply bad. There are some disturbing noises in three songs, which almost ruin the whole album! Not only the vinyl itself sounds quite mediocre, speaking of the sound quality, but it also has that static noise! Can it be worse? Shame, as I said. Of corpse there was also a second press LP, released by Witching Hour, as a double LP with some bonus tracks, but I never bought it, when it was available, so now I am left with this shitty LP from Full Moon Prods. Damn, I know “Dawn of the Dying Sun” also from CD and it sounded way better than on this old vinyl. So, lesson to learn: get Witching Hour LP version asap and then waste this Full Moon version.
Great shame that there are all these problems with LP, more so because “Dawn of the Dying Sun” is such an awesome album and it surely equals “…Again Shall Be”. Musically it is a rightful continuation of the debut LP, so again Hades hits us with their blend of rough and obscure black metal spiced with the epic and monumental playing and almost majestic atmosphere, with their Viking themed music. In many ways “Dawn of the Dying Sun” feels even more bombastic, more monumental to the debut, and that is probably because firstly it is completely devoid of any faster parts and secondly these riffs here are simply crushing and barbaric. Plus the production, which is so unlike to ANY OTHER ALBUM (!!!) you’ve ever heard before and after. Yes! “Dawn of the Dying Sun” has truly outstanding but also unique, very dirty sound quality and it may take you a while to get use to it, but once you do then it will only unveil some truly excellent songs. And to describe the album with one sentence, I would call it incredibly harsh and raw, monumental Viking / black metal. Epic masterpiece. It is obscure, slow, but aggressive… it has great majestic feeling and more so, it also is quite melodic in some parts. Two tracks are my real favourites: “Awakening of Kings” and “Crusade of the Underworld Hordes”. The first one is a real killer, maybe even Hades’ best song ever, with truly outstanding riffing, which is accompanied by nice acoustic background (I simply love how this song begins!) and awesome harsh, sick vocals of Janto… This song sounds just spectacular, has such an amazing atmosphere and is nothing more, but a greatest hymn to the North! And “Crusade of the Underworld Hordes” is the first song I heard from this album on a compilation CD back in 1997 and it is definitely the most aggressive, most powerful track here, these riffs in it are so damn heavy, so massive, but still very memorable.
I mentioned two songs, but to be honest I think that the whole album is just flawless and Hades once more recorded simply perfect album. I can mention some more killers: “Pagan Prayer”, “Alone Walkyng”, the title song… “Apocalyptic Prophecies (The Sign of Hades)” (with some really great parts of keyboards!)… There’s a strong influence of Bathory through the whole album, but the style of Hades has been taken way further, into more obscure and heavy territories. It’s like a combination of Bathory, Enslaved, Aeternus, Immortal first album, but different anyway. And we could discuss long why is this album so underrated… I feel like it is almost forgotten! If anyone mentions Hades, then it’s because of their demo and “…Again Shall Be”, not because of “Dawn of the Dying Sun”. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is truly superb release and one of my favourite Norwegian black metal albums of all time. 
Standout tracks: “Awakening of Kings”, “Crusade of the Underworld Hordes”, “Pagan Prayer”, “Alone Walkyng”, “Apocalyptic Prophecies (The Sign of Hades)”

Final rate: 90/100

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