THE ILLUSION OF DAWN

Depressive Black Metal • China
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The Illusion of Dawn is a depressive black metal band from Wuhan, China formed in 2005 and still active.
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THE ILLUSION OF DAWN The Illusion of Dawn album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Illusion of Dawn
Depressive Black Metal 2012

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THE ILLUSION OF DAWN Recall the Nightmare album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Recall the Nightmare
Depressive Black Metal 2008

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THE ILLUSION OF DAWN Recall the Nightmare

Demo · 2008 · Depressive Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
While it may be off the radar for the rest of the world, Chinese black metal has been a thing for the last 20 years with kvlt acts popping up all around the world’s most populous nation adopting all those attributes that make them sound like they’ve been exiled to Lappland for countless cold winters. Some of the better black metal bands from China like 殞煞 (Vengeful Spectre) and 葬尸湖 (Zuriaake) incorporate Chinese folk music into the metal import sounds but for the vast majority, they have simply been playing catch up with more accomplished Western bands by simply copying the second wave bands of the 90s.

The year 2020 has been an interesting one and depressing for many due to the outbreak of Covid-19 across the world creating an unprecedented pandemic in a time when the world is totally connected. Coming from the epicenter of the viral breakout is THE ILLUSION OF DAWN which formed in Wuhan, China all the way back in 2004 which is about the time when China was starting to adopt some of the more extreme metal sounds and more and more bands formed although such extreme metal sounds are still very much a minority in a nation of 1.4 billion inhabitants.

This band has had many lineup changes over the years but in the beginning it was the quartet of Nightmare (guitars), Liang Jun (bass), Chen Bin (drums) and Darkness (vocals.) While many black metal bands use Chinese characters for their band names, THE ILLUSION OF DAWN has gone Western from the start with all titles in English and as far as i can tell the indecipherable lyrics as well. The band so far only has two releases which started with this demo RECALL THE NIGHTMARE in 2008 followed by a self-titled full-length that came out in 2012.

I chose to review this demo because i’ve been searching for an album that represents the perfect soundtrack for what the world has been going through in 2020 and by having found Wuhan’s equivalent of Darkthrone, i think i found a winner. Considering the Coronavirus thing broke out in Wuhan this album represents the torment and anguish of what that city went through as one of the hardest hit and how a raw black metal sound from Wuhan was a cross-pollination with Western ideas therefore the perfect representation of a nasty virus making its way across the globe.

Musically this is fairly generic by the books raw primeval black metal that sounds like a garage band worshipping some of the early second wave Norwegian bands but slower more like the depressive black metal of Sweden’s Shining. While the music covers the basics like buzzsaw guitar distortion, tremolo picking, murky bass / guitar unison and raspy vocals emerging from the din, these guys weren’t exactly accomplished musicians however the whole thing really does fit in with the mood i imagine Wuhan youth experiencing during this outbreak, namely complete frustration and utter depression. This is a raw form of depressive black metal that feels like the end of the world is nigh.

One of the weakest links here is the drumming which is fairly boring. Chen Bin keeps a simple beat and the drum tones sound completely out of place here. There are a scant few blastbeat moments but generally it’s just a lackadaisical procession of a simple thumping sound. There are a few guitar solos which are atonal and unspectacular but this is garage metal after all and the whole thing reminds me of how a city was attacked by a microbial invader and forced to adapt much like black metal swooped into the consciousness of the youth and they were trying to find their way into the world. Maybe i just have too fertile of an imagination but i vote RECALL THE NIGHTMARE as soundtrack of the year 2020. It’s dark, bleak, depressing, has a title that sums up the worldwide pandemic and it originated in Wuhan and like the virus is only average in quality.

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