Dario | Nov 22, 2023 | 0
Greylotus – Dawnfall
Extreme metal is… well extreme. And while some bands, among that extremity, aim to keep their music focused on being enjoyed, others will pick a vector to magnify their absurdity and just keep pushing. Archspire chose speed. Lorna Shore chose Breakdowns and Gutturals, Persefone chose the ultimate math nerd’s paradise and Slaughter to Prevail went for outright obscenity. And we’ve seen time and time again how attempting to push a certain dimension of your music beyond what basic human decency or even the laws of physics might deem acceptable, will lead to some of the most ludicrous and shocking sonic phenomena that the world has ever seen. And that happens if you choose one specific direction to concentrate your madness… but what if you chose all of them?
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Greylotus. They are a … a THING that was recently signed to The Artisan Era, set to release their debut album “Dawnfall” on July 8th. I was fortunate enough to stream through the absurdity that is this album a couple of times and I just can’t stop scratching my head, not because I can’t understand it (although I can totally see why one wouldn’t) but because I’m having serious doubts about whether or not I should. So let’s see why that is.
Greylotus – Azure Rain
The opening track literally kicks off with what I would call a high shrieky blegh, and proceeds to show you what would happen if Archspire went black metal. The sheer ridiculousness of the playing speed, especially on drums, is one I seriously struggle to fathom as humanly possible. And on top of that, the wacky swirling tech-death riffage runs wild. The black influence I would say comes mainly from the shrieky vocal approach and the somewhat grinding texture of the production sound. The genre approaches are spread out all over the extreme spectrum and honestly, at some point I just give up trying to categorize this as anything other than a fast noisy thing. But oddly enough, it’s a thing I find myself strangely pleased by. In some way, all this makes sense, and has musical coherence. The rhythmic and melodic components must be mainly responsible for that. Yes, despite the madness, these guys manage to put together some interesting grooves that can hook you, and on the melodic side, they’re trying to push the epic tendencies, to the point where they had me thinking of Wintersun, although I doubt that’s a fair comparison. When guitar leads, orchestrations, vocals and the relentlessly battering groundwork of drums and riffage comes together, the wall of sound grows to an insane scale.
Greylotus – Chiaroscuro feat. Gaia Mason
Having made it through the first track, “Rectilinear Motion ” I expected the above to be everything that makes up the sound on Dawnfall. After all, it’s more than enough isn’t it? But, the deathcore was missing, and when the breakdown in “Shadow Archetype” hit me, and the screams switched to guttural spew, I knew they’ll ascend through the stratosphere as easily as they’ll sink into otherworldly obscenity. And that one was nothing compared to what other disgusting drops they have in store later on the album. On “Hoarfrost”, the breakdown really competes with Lorna Shore, but it’s still very fast and the vocals feel like a cyborg pig controlled by a supercomputer. And the way they can so effortlessly accelerate out of that moment back into the hyperactivity just left me speechless. And there are more such ridiculous moments on the album than I could count, but that’s the one that stayed with me most.
Greylotus – Shadow Archetype feat. Duncan Bentley
However… They have feelings. To be fair, when you reach a certain degree of brutality, I just don’t want to believe you any more, but these guys are as determined to unleash madness as they are determined to make you like it. As mentioned previously, there’s an epic, anthemic approach to the melodies and lead section, and a pretty strong layer of orchestration as well, and those help the various components of the sound glue together nicely. But they also come on their own from time to time, creating brief atmospheric pauses in the songs that really de-escalate your adrenaline and effectively get you to relax, just so that you’d be properly off guard when they decide to strike again. Such moments include the spoken word intro to ‘Chiaroscuro’, the water and wind effects in the outro to ‘Dawnfall’ and the clean guitar driven blast beat in ‘Hoarfrost’. There are also more diverse vocal techniques showing up as the album progresses, like epic choirs and shouty melodic singing.
By the time the album was reaching its end with Azure Rain, I was struggling to put the pieces of my brain back together, but was also impressed and truly satisfied with this ludicrous work. As much as I may have gotten sucked into all the technical aspects and absurdities, what strikes me near the end is that “Dawnfall” felt cinematic, epic and adventurous, and it was cohesive enough as a whole for me to feel like it took me on some strange journey. The soulful and melodic elements somehow matched up to the brutality and gave it a truly epic theatrical aura. And while I still struggle to take most of it seriously, I absolutely love hearing it. If you want everything you believe about the world to be proven wrong, be sure to spin “Dawnfall” when it drops.
- Rectilinear Motion (04:30)
- Shadow Archetype (03:59)
- Currents (05:01)
- Chiaroscuro (05:00)
- Capgras Delusion (04:30)
- Syzygy (03:51)
- Hoarfrost (05:41)
- Dawnfall (06:20)
- Azure Rain (06:02)