Stefan Traunmüller started off as a one-man band known as Golden Dawn, which later gathered more musicians to have a full line-up. The band was founded in Salzburg, Austria and has been labelled as “Extreme Goth Metal”, but I tend to disagree. It has been almost a decade since their last release back in 2003 titled “Masquerade”, which received a lot of praise. These Austrians are back with a new full-length titled “Return to Provenance”.
In the early days of black metal, Golden Dawn was also part of Austria’s infamous black metal syndicate with other bands such as Trifixion, Pazuzu, Pervertum, Summoning and of course Abigor. Other than your typical black metal themes, Golden Dawn lyrical themes included Sorcery, dreams and existence. “Return to Provenance” will be the bands 4th full-length album.
The album kicks off with a track titled “Nameless”. From the get go it is clear that there is some decent song structure and not the typical rebellion against song structure with some of the bands like Burzum, Darkthrone and the like. The rhythm is relatively mid-paced if anything, which does incorporate song clinging riffs and precision drumming. The vocals, however, has that typical black metal style to it, harsh and cold. The rhythm and beat to this song is broken with a breakdown that will send shivers down your spine. This track definitely does set the pace and atmosphere one can expect from the rest of the album.
“Self-destruction” is the last track on the album, which starts off with a darker more malevolent intent. It is also a lot slower than any of the other tracks on the album. There is no real sense of urgency, however, it does add to the atmosphere of the track. I guess self-destruction is a slow process in the long run. It does come to a grinding halt before you are lifted ever so briefly. Not a bad effort, it also finishes an otherwise mediocre album off as the last song.
All and all the album lasts for about 38 minutes, this puts the average song length just under 5 minutes give or take. In all fairness, it doesn’t have that pragmatic approach to black metal which has been tried and tested for about 2 decades now, but in the same breath, it doesn’t bring that much variety to the front either. This leaves you wondering… what is the point of this album?
In most circles, black metal fans love to see that old school second wave black metal sound and production that one has with Burzum and Darkthrone or something completely different like Abigail William, this album is smack bang in the middle. This being said, it is by no stretch of the imagination a bad album, but it won’t be one of the best albums of 2012 either. I feel it is still a decent album, if the rest for the black metal public will be as generous, I doubt it.