Seemingly coming out of nowhere in recent months, Liverpudlian Black Metallers Dawn Ray’d have already made a lasting impression in such a short space of time. After a well-received EP release in A Thorn, A Blight (Moment Of Collapse), that certainly escaped much wider attention, Dawn Ray’d have generated ripples in the knowing underground; not only with signing to Prosthetic for The Unlawful Assembly, their debut full length, but by showcasing both an intensity and an urgency in their lyrical content that many more established peers simply don’t match up to.
In a brand of metal that is reputed for being anger-ridden and confrontational, Dawn Ray’d already stand out amongst many of their peers. Self-described as anarchist, Dawn Ray’d aren’t afraid of tackling subjects such as fascism, political corruption and borders; but in a way that feels genuine and seething throughout. This aura is matched by a song-craft which ultimately focuses on the more primal, punk rawness and claustrophobic strands of Black Metal, predominately pacey and traditional sounding, without sounding like a throwback. Even with some folkier moments, The Unlawful Assembly feels abrasive throughout, with such passages used to accentuate the intensity as opposed to being moments of relief or reflection; a prime example being ‘A Thought, Ablaze’ where, in a rare moment, the Black Metal is entirely stripped away, but in its subject matter emits a striking heaviness and sense of down-trodden, furious call to arms even with its clean vocals and folk instrumentation closing the album.
Debut releases are of course a band’s signal of intent and can prove a difficult hurdle to nail for many, but Dawn Ray’d have achieved a truly remarkable feat of such a debut which feels impactful and stands out amongst its peers; mostly through a disregard of playing it safe as opposed to dynamic, revolutionary songcraft. One drawback is the nagging sense that these guys can deliver a whole lot more than The Unlawful Assembly suggests, and the sense that Dawn Ray’d could become one of Britain’s (if not wider) shining extreme lights.