Dawning – Mount Um + 1997 Demo (2016)


Another previously unreviewed record judged some of The Best Underground Metal of 2016.

Mount Um + 1997 Demo is a digital anthology collecting what Steve Cefala judged to be Dawning‘s strongest material. Half the run-time (“Side A”) is one new, extended track entitled Mount Um in three parts: “Pilgrimage to Umunhum”, “The Albino Bridge Sacrement”, and a melodic bass outro. Mount Um sounds like Summoning worshiping Emperor‘s In the Nightside Eclipse in a lengthy composition reminiscent of Celtic Frost‘s album work. Ambient fantasy keyboards are perverted into pandemonium as if on an arduous journey of great hardship and loss culminating in a bittersweet victory over the uncaring, vicious forces of nature. Mount Um‘s composition is progressive and profound.

“Side B”, Dawning’s commercially unreleased 1997 Demo is very promising, more aggressive, yet not particularly original Norwegian style black metal. Early Emperor is again the primary influence but there are prominent drumming and riffing influences from Darkthrone too that are not present on Mount Um. “Side B” Also has some tape problems with some fade-outs. Despite the derivativeness of some of the riffs and Fenriz beats, much of the Demo 1997 material is excellent and shows a band who had the creative chops to reach heights above the mostly cancerous, rebranded alternative and indie rock that still characterizes most American “black metal”.

The only improvements Steve could possible make to his later material would be to maybe glue some of the various riffs together more seamlessly rather than almost alternating between progressing each of them. It would also be interesting to for him to adopt aspects of Emperor‘s flowing, explosive rhythm section of Samoth (Zyklon-B) and Faust like several of the best contemporary Dutch black metal bands currently do to great effect. Mount Um + 1997 Demo is a very worthwhile purchase; Mount Um is excellently written and the 1997 Demo has great riffs.

11 thoughts on “Dawning – Mount Um + 1997 Demo (2016)”

  1. GGALLIN1776 says:

    Looks like it says nemo instead of demo.

    1. Deport All Hipsters says:

      That’s because it’s underwater metal.

  2. cornrose says:

    Yeah… no.

  3. Necrononeconomist says:

    “Dutch black metal” — does it have a unifying sound or other property?

    Someone please elucidate.

    1. Not really other than most of the better bands love Zyklon-B.

    2. old DLA > nü-DMU says:

      Yes – it’s overrated crap just like Serpent Ascending. Kaeck is probably the worst.

      1. Marc Defranco says:

        Although those bands are rated highly here they aren’t overrated. Hardly any other site talks about them

  4. Marc Defranco says:

    Was expecting to dislike this but ended up being pleasantly surprised

  5. horrible dick and ball torture says:

    it’s decent, could use a warmer sound but whatever

  6. Steve says:

    It is very humbling that some people still enjoy Dawning, after all these years.

    It has been lost on the metal community the Dawning was playing psychedelic black metal and also things like funeral doom before those terms really existed. The reason for this is that Dawning is looked at retroactively. Anyone who was around at the time and heard the band can attest that it was psychedelic BM (with some parts that even sounded like Pink Floyd) and had parts that would qualify as funeral doom. Also the fact that Dawning has New Age elements to the music , like Tangerine Dream, has never really been noted.

  7. Steve says:

    Also lost in history is the fact the band had one of the greatest live (some said the greatest ever) KFJC 89.7 performances of all time according to those who were there , including mems of Noothegrush in a published interview a few years ago. This is due to the fact that the DAT tape of that show got traded away by KFJC staff and is no longer available in a decent sound format.

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