INTRODUCING (split)…: Halcyon Dawn

Welcome back to In Angel’s Headphones! I hope you all had a relaxing vacation, and can now kick off 2012 with energy and enthusiasm.

I’d been sitting on this compilation for a while, but hadn’t got around to giving it a proper spin. Turns out it was more than worth it! Came close to EP of the Year but not quite.

[featuring This White Mountain, Geflimmernacht, Apogeic Swell and Schillerndtag]

I came across this compilation by pure accident when I found one of the projects on Bandcamp offering a free song for download. After I downloaded it, I went on a hunt for similar stuff and found he (This White Mountain) had been featured on a compilation released by US label Halcyon Recordings of similar material, so I figured I’d take the whole thing as that is also free!

All four bands featured on here (Geflimmernacht, This White Mountain, Apogeic Swell & Schillerndtag) play very similar styles of downtempo black metal, mixing in post-rock and shoegaze, with slightly lo-fi production but not to the point of it becoming grating, and each of the songs lasts more than 10 minutes. Their styles can be said to be similar, but each have their own small tweaks to show originality in their approach.

Geflimmernacht start off strong, also with a surprising low-range clean coming in at the halfway point amidst the black metal rasping and wall-of-sound tremolo. This White Mountain opt for a more strident approach, and some odd lyrics: “Eternity has itself renewed/Fate abates to ease, unwinding in her celestial chamber/With contentedness she sighs” They also break in the middle for a slower section, providing some relief from the harsh metal, and a haunting solo near the end along with some unfortunately mediocre cleans. Apogeic Swell are the odd ones out being an instrumental band, but their brand of shoegaze-esque Drudkh works well and leaves little room for complaint. The final group, Schillerndtag, aim for the depressive side in the German-language lyrics (“My body is numb/White snow, a dance of spirits”*), and the music reminding me of Sterbend in some places, Agalloch in others. A fitting ending to the compilation, resulting in a feeling of completion as it draws to a close.

For a self-recorded and self-funded release, these bands along with Halcyon Recordings have done a great job. Those familiar with Alcest and Drudkh, and to a lesser extent Agalloch, will be familiar with this well-trodden path, but an opportunity for free good quality post-black metal should not be passed up.

Below are all four songs on YouTube for listening:

Geflimmernacht – Disdain

This White Mountain – Call Of Stars

Apogeic Swell – Awash

Schillerndtag – Die Leere

*Translation done by myself, original: “Mein Körper ist taub/Weißer Schnee, ein Tanz der Geister”

UPDATE: I just realized that all four bands are projects of Kevin Narowski, who wrote all of the music. Whoops.

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