Golden Dawn - The Art of Dreaming

Golden Dawn - The Art of Dreaming 2.5/5

More like the art of mis-labeling. Somehow I think this might have garnered more attention if it was labeled as symphonic black metal then extreme gothic metal, but I suppose that even the great Metal Archives makes mistakes, or that could just be my prejudice against the idea of gothic metal seeping through into my writing. Mainly the efforts of one man, Stefan (Dreamlord) TraunmÃller, other artists often joined or contributed, to this band, regrettably only one is of note: Moritz Neuner, of Graveworm, Abigor, Atrocity, and many, many others. It is a shame though, especially considering this was released way back in 1996, and if it were better known, I would say that bands like Apotheosis or Antestor drive some influence from these Austrians.

Now, I can admit, I am at a loss for how to start describing the various instruments here. The music is largely keyboard driven, so I suppose saying that the playing there is above average, but I acknowledge I don’t have a large backing to support that. It is quite good though, and blends with the drumming styles of black metal exploding blasts and the more somber folksy style that often incorporates odd instrumentation. The keys often are the only instrument present for lengths of time, and give Dreamlord lots of spotlight for his nimble fingers, and various tastes in organs, horn sections, and other styles. The guitar parts have largely been reduced to rhythm and atmosphere duties, and so I have little to say on his technical abilities. He is efficient at his job, though I would appreciate some more virtuosity form him. The vocalist doesn’t really venture outside the comfort zone of normal black metal vocals, save for some clean chanting appearing sporadically throughout the pieces.

Yet, through some generally sub-par showings from the artists, the songwriting has some depth, considering the keys and drums are the only highlighted parts. Lyrically, this leaves little to be desired, with some spacey, well-written poetry of the sub-conscious. I consider this to be lower quality black metal then classics like Limbonic Art or Emperor, but above some of the dreck of bedroom black metal, so I suppose average is a fair assessment. With some more effort put into stressing the guitar work or giving the vocalist some depth in his styles. Even the occasional growl or solo could add so much to the depth of the pieces, and take the pressure off the Dreamlord to perform something spectacular constantly. Luckily for all of you, he will improve much in the coming years, culminating with his 2003 experimental masterpiece, Masquerade.

Highlights: Ideosynchronicity, Sub Species Aeternitias, Per Aspera Ad Astra, The Majesty Of My Kingdom Afar

For those wondering why I reviewed this album instead of the later one; It is a lot easier to write something with criticism then a long list of fanboi-esque praise.

By C.J. Ulferts