REVIEWED: Dawn of Ouroboros - 'The Art of Morphology'
In the spirit of the ancient symbol of a serpent swallowing its own tail that inspires their name, Dawn of Ouroboros craft the perfect equilibrium between the creative and destructive tendencies of extreme metal.
A blackened progressive act blending apocalyptic atmospherics with the range and skill of technical death metal, Dawn have a refreshingly original sound for such a relatively recent band to the scene. Arising like a burnished sun from San Francisco’s beautiful Bay Area, in a dazzling aurora of glossy promotional shots and highly stylised video promos, this newborn may look pretty - but it has venom in its bite. The potent blend of gorgeous melody and cataclysmic rage showcased in debut single 'Sorrow’s Eclipse' have already left the metal world waiting with baited breath for their first album release; and Dark Matter are thrilled to report that as 'The Art of Morphology' unfolds, it more than lives up to this early promise.
Opening tentatively with soft chords and the sound of gentle rain, 'Revivified Spirits' sets the tone of an album that is filled with wistful reflection as much as the frenzied fury of heavy metal, before moving into something deeper and darker as the riffs kick in. 'Pinnacle Induced Vertigo' continues in much the same vein, with some crystallised, rhythmic beats against a backdrop of haemorrhaging ferocity, while 'Gateway to Tenebrosity' dissipates the tension with a one-minute piano interlude teetering on the edge of the macabre. 'Lunar Cathexis' gallops along with a hard-rock intensity, and 'Spiral of Hypnotism' twists and turns in chaotic confusion in a manner likely to induce lunacy, wheeling between sinister waves of eerie lapping notes, deliriously breathless vocals and thudding, heavy riffs. 'Serpent’s Charm' coils around the listener with a seductive, winding allure; bewitching the senses with siren lyrics and pulsing cadence. 'Sorrow’s Eclipse' is a satisfying and catchy eight-minute wonder; its complexity only increasing in the context of the whole album as talented vocalist Chelsea Murphy alternates between sweet, dulcet tones and angry, full-throated screams. Boasting tautly balanced tempo, perfectly timed song structure and a careful latticework of drums and guitar solos that soar to unbidden heights, it’s not surprising this standout has left listeners entranced even before the album’s release and significantly boosted Dawn’s following. 'Valiant Abscond' closes the song-list with gutsy vigour, enriching the overall experience with layer upon layer of delicious, synthetic groove before fading away on a single, discordant note.
Our beloved metal is an ever-changing, maniacally diverse genre that forever devours and refreshes itself, a continual cycle of devastation and renewal that encompasses the dark and the light, circles between hope and passion and despair, and alternates between frustration, rage and violence, gentle melancholy and pure, diabolical inspiration. The tempestuous and arresting Dawn of Ouroboros are one of the few bands to really get to grips with the tensions in this rather temperamental creative climate – shifting with consummate skill from profound emotional intensity to hailstorms of ire, rising above their own technical brilliance to reach true innovation and encapsulate the buffeting winds of change that carry us all.
'The Art of Morphology' is out now via Naturmacht Productions