2015’s In Case You Missed: Dawn Ray’d – A Thorn, A Blight

“Cauldron of Rebirth”

Pernambuco, 1624. A few moons have passed, perhaps more. The feeling of fabric against your back is still unbearable, and so is the Sun. How long has it been since Summer started? You have no idea. It burns so hot that it is almost as if time itself is melting. It burns as hot as the flames inside of the mill, it turns days into a thick tar as the cauldron turns cane into melaço. The cane field is endless, but at least your hands don’t ache anymore.

“I swear I am getting weaker,
I swear I am slowing down.” 

You wallow.


“At The Still Point”

Bjørgvin, 1350. A generous amount of brew warms up your spirit. “It will be romantic, there is beauty in the cold!”, you say to your wife. The mind drifts elsewhere, to a much darker place. Nothing grew last year. The ground was sterile, fruitless. There is only enough grain for the plague struck last year, taking away both of your boys. The nights will only get longer. Beauty… in the cold?

There is not,
And it will try kill us.
That is a truth that all the trees know.


It had been so long I almost forgot my favorite method of finding new music: the late night Bandcamp cruise. Much like a trip to the refrigerator in the wee small hours, you see something that looks appetizing and dive right in with careless enthusiasm. In this case, however, indulgence paid off, as my sleepiness and my migraine the day after was well worth spinning this record several times.

The appetizing artwork for A Thorn, A Blight

The “appetizing” and somewhat impressionist artwork of A Thorn, A Blight

In about 23 spellbinding minutes, the British men in Dawn Ray’d display a maturity unfound in most bands’ first release. Listed as “atmospheric black metal” in Metallum, there is not much ambience and certainly no spare time here. Instead, the atmosphere is derived from the raw emotion in these pieces.

At most times melancholic, at other times downright choleric, the mood their music creates is highly enhanced by the lyrics, which you can actually hear despite the vocalist’s harrowed shrieks. I recommend listening while following along with the words provided at their Bandcamp page. From radical political stances to the woes of harsh climates, the EP comes from a place of disillusionment and/or grinding poverty. In this context, “Strident Voices” is a remarkable surprise for dealing with the feeling of inferiority and being undeserving of someone’s love. It was very interesting, to see that on a black metal record.


Simon Barr, the vocalist and violinist for Dawn Ray’d. Photo by Michael Sangster.

The production in A ThornA Blight is adequate, with the vocals and drums in the forefront most of the time. Because of this, the loud/quite dynamics in the songs are heightened to a point where the listener is fully immersed in the experience – guided by the pounding rhythm and feeling the passion each wail carries. The volume of the guitars is a bit lower than most modern records, but they still provide plenty of the sorrowful atmosphere previously discussed. As usual, plenty of tremolo in every song, but I find the chord progressions here more inventive than the norm.

There is one element that steals the scene on the whole EP: Simon Barr’s violin. Words fail me as I try to express how much this classic instrument adds to the stories of Dawn Ray’d. In “Cauldron of Rebirth”, my favorite song in this release, all of the aforementioned elements complement each other perfectly. If a single song is all you’ll listen to, make it that one.

Released in September 10th of 2015 through Moment Of Collapse RecordsA Thorn, A Blight is an experience of beauty and hopelessness, however contradicting that may sound. Buy a copy of the EP in digital or 12” record format over at Bandcamp. Be sure to stab the like button for Dawn Ray’d on Facebook.


We stray too far from the sun,
The Earth strains at its tether.

Written by:

Published on: February 17, 2016

Filled Under: Don't Miss This!, Metal

Views: 1336

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  • Wrapping up listening to Zephaniah, then this is definitely next!

    • Dagon

      I think you’ll dig this.

      • I do too. Probably going to wait til I get home so Albus can enjoy it with me

        • Dubs

          Albus is actually deaf. He’s just been faking it for a while to keep you happy.

          • Then why does he come when I call his name?

            Or more often, when he hears food wrappers crinkling…

          • Dubs

            He actually smells you.

          • Albus-ert Francis (Sonny) Capone

  • Spear

    Totally forgot about these dudes. Thanks for the reminder, O Lord of Fish.

    • Dagon

      2 or 3 of their members were in a screamo band called We Came Out Like Tigers, which was a bit surprising to me.

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        I’ve heard of that band.

        • Dagon

          The original Screamo bands probably have a bunch of dads in them, so I guess you’re allowed to like them.

  • First thoughts while looking at the artwork: Drunk dude leaves bar to walk home. After 5 minutes of staggering the wrong direction he decides he needs to piss. He pulls down his pants but already started urinating before he could get them down all the way, therefore pissing his pants. After finishing he decides that the pants can just completely fuck off! As he tries to kick them off his feet he then trips on the elastic band on his underpants. He falls/staggers down the brick street while desperately trying to catch his balance. Finally, he falls down and passes the fuck out with his dick smudged on the cold pavement and his ass end sticking up. An hour passes by and some grim-reaper mother-fucker walks by and notices him. He walks over and stares at him for a few seconds before looking around to see if anyone is watching. He stares some more while two dicks forge out of his arm sleeves…

    To be continued…

    • he leans down and whispers into the man’s ear “No homo, bro…”

    • Dagon

      Such is the origin story of the term “murder the booty”

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      Yeah, but who are the fuckers in the background? I need the info, bro!

    • Commandant Lassard

      The companion piece to This Toilet Tuesday. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


    I like this. Kinda the same style as the Antichrist Imperium.

  • YourLogicIsFlushed

    This is great. Violin section in the second song kinda reminds me of GY!BE (but nothing else about the band does, obviously). Saved in Spotify library.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      Just saw GY!BE live. They brought it.


        Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa im super jelly. im working on my GY!BE vinyl collection

        • Edward/Breegrodamus™

          Also discovered a pretty cool two piece band called Xylouris White, worth checking.


            gladly check any Edwardian recs

      • You’re gonna go to college and become a lesbian and get into Godspeed you black emperor! and the fucking Shins!


    is the name supposed to be like “Dawn Raid”? or is there something im missing?

  • Waynecro

    This is pretty fuckin’ awesome. I’m such a sucker for violin. Thanks, Dagon!

    • Commandant Lassard
      • Waynecro

        This is interesting. Thanks!

        • Commandant Lassard

          I was supposed to interview her way back when, but sadly had to work. #GottaPayTheActionBills

  • Waynecro

    This new An Open Letter/Sadness split is kind of interesting: https://anopenletter.bandcamp.com


      nice find

      • Waynecro

        Thanks. I was fortunate to get an email about the split. I really like parts of it.


          very young too

          • Waynecro

            Damn. I didn’t even notice that before. Crazy.


    giving that Oranssi Pazuzu another spin thru, so good

  • RIP Commandant Lassard

    This is pretty fucking good!

  • Commandant Lassard

    PS, it’s KJU, but changed the name and avatar in honor of George Gaynes (from the Police Academy films) who passed away yesterday. Mahooooooooooooooneyyyyyyy!

    • Valichou Winchester

      He will be missed by many!

      • Commandant Lassard

        Bonjour, man cherry!

        • Valichou Winchester

          Howdy, baby! Do not forget. I will be gone this weekend!

    • Sir Tapir The Based

      Gaynes was born in Finland, we own him.

      • Commandant Lassard

        Haha, yep! That I didn’t know about him before I read the obituary. BTW, dunno if you like Trailer Park Boys, but saw this a few days ago, speaking of Finland.


        • Sir Tapir The Based

          I saw them live here last year. Good stuff.

          • Commandant Lassard


  • Dubs

    Enjoyed the way this post was compiled, by the way. I liked the quotes.

  • Lacertilian

    Just made it, this is great so far Fishbro.
    The mood reminds me of someone I can’t quite put my claw on, probably end up buying this.

  • Super review! Will check this out when I can, Dagon!

  • Salvador Celes

    If like them, you should check out the band member’s old band: We Came Out Like Tigers