It’s nice to see post-metal make a comeback. Ever since Isis went the way of the dinosaurs the scene has been relatively quiet. That’s understandable – where post metal was a bigger deal in the late 2000s, this has been very much surpassed with its polar opposite, djent music. This year, two of the bigger bands in the post-metal scene, Cult of Luna and Mouth of the Architect, have released records. However, where Cult of Luna’s record was more minimalistic, this Mouth of the Architect record, fittingly titled Dawning, is very different.
The Cult of Luna record, in comparison to this, is very minimalist. Much of the record is centered around a single riff and keyboards are employed to give out ambience when needed. Dawning is immensely dense. There are so many harmonies between the vocals that it’s hard to not be interested in them – particularly when they’re all on point. The mixing between the screaming and the clean vocals is actually really solid. No better example of these acrobatics can be seen than on the opening number, Lullabye. I’d go so far as to call it the standout track. I also enjoy the use of going into major scales and modes. It makes the music sound more uplifting than anything – a true “dawning” so to speak.
My biggest issue with the record is that it’s so poorly mixed that a lot of parts get muddled in and you can hardly hear them. A good example of this is three minutes into Sharpen Your Axes. I can’t tell which part is supposed to be the melody. I also must note that the snare here has the effect of Lars’s drums on St. Anger. That tone…it just doesn’t fit. In giving off a heavy tone, it’s great! But for actual separating the instruments, as well as for the feedback on the amps in songs like Patterns, it hurts the record immensely.
Overall, the actual composition on the tracks is really good. Even though it’s dense (and sometimes this density in a song can lead to too much wankery and reliance on using tricks to get people to like your music), it works really well. I feel like post-metal needs more of this over the top composition going to it – I think the only band to really pull this off is Neurosis. However, in parts where everyone is playing together, some get lost in the shuffle, and Mouth of the Architect will either need to streamline their sound (which wouldn’t be good) or get the album better mixed in these complex parts so that everyone can be heard. Otherwise, the whole record suffers – and that’s a shame, because this is really good.
2. It Swarms
3. Sharpen Your Axes
4. How This Will End
6. The Other Son
Genre: Post Metal
Label: Translation Loss
Runtime: 53 Minutes
Dave Mann – Drums
Evan Danielson – Bass
Steve Brooks – Guitar & Vocals
Kevin Schindel – Guitar & Vocals
Jason Watkins – Guitar & Vocals