Beyond Dawn - _Bygones_
(Duplicate Records, 2009)
by: Quentin Kalis (
Currently on hold, their last album of self-penned "traumatic electro rock" (whatever that may mean) holds little interest for extreme connoisseurs, but in their early days Beyond Dawn performed avantgarde metal when it was a description, not a genre. The Norwegian outfit never received the accolades they rightly deserved, and were overshadowed by the antics of their blackened brethren. They have not released anything since 2005, but this is one stopgap release that deserved the re-release treatment.The first four songs are the _Longing for Scarlet Days_ MCD, released on 1994 on the now-defunct French label Adipocere. Their experimentalism was at its metallic peak, and even today, this stands out as something special and unique. With unusual rhythms, a mournful trombone and dreary vocals, there literally wasn't anything like this back then. In the liner notes, they admit that Celtic Frost was a huge influence (obviously _Into the Pandemonium) and this can be heard through the occasional lurching riff and Warrior-style death grunts.They were never really part of the black metal movement that gripped Norway in those years, but the ferocious blast of the _Linear Shades_ 7" EP (1993, also on Adipocere) offers all the proof that if they chose to, they could have been an integral cog in that devilish machine.The previously unreleased track from the EP session is of a similar calibre, but they misstep with the inclusion of "Glass Desert", which sounds as if it were recorded on an 8-track, and the only true "filler".They return to form with two tracks, from _Heaven's Dark Reflection_, their 1991 demo, also strongly allied to black metal, suggesting that one time, they were walking the same avantgarde path as Arcturus, and one can hear similarities here between this and Arcturus' _My Angel_ EP. I can't understand why only two were chosen. It's possible that those tracks ignored weren't as good -- but it's a demo, and even these rather simplistic tracks made it clear (as a glass desert...) that they would have something worthwhile to offer. It's not as if there was insufficient space: this compilation only runs to 45 odd minutes.The EP is the true highlight, with the 7" track running a close second, while the demo tracks possess an inherent appeal beyond the historical. _Bygones_ is highly recommended for anyone seeking conclusive proof that Norwegian music had more to offer than black metal and A-Ha in the mid-Nineties.
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