Dawn of Ouroboros
The Art of Morphology
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Ah, symphonic, female-fronted, progressive metal… WAIT! Where are you going? Come back! Fine. At least pick up your garbage on the way out and shut the damn door! Do you think we live in a barn? Who’s we? I’m by myself living in quarantine. Well, anyway, the joke’s on you because this is not symphonic, female-fronted, progressive metal. The band call themselves progressive blackened metal. I bet you wish you would have stayed…

Dawn of Ouroboros are a new entity formed by Botanist guitarist Tony Thomas and vocalist Chelsea Murphy (who, according to promotional materials, has done session work for the recent Doom Eternal  video game). In 2018, bassist David Scanlon was added, as well as Ron Bertrand, also of Botanist.

We begin with track 1 (where else would we begin, track 5?), titled “Revivified Spirits,” is an intro/first track hybrid. There’s a significant build for nearly 3 minutes, which includes some buried spoken word and a small weeping lead before the vocals begin with blasting in tow. Chelsea’s growls are full, throaty, and a highlight. The production is clean, although a little flat, but a good intro track we have.

The next track of note is, well, the next one, “Pinnacle Induced Vertigo.” Chelsea shows off her significant clean vocal chops. In fact, she sounds strikingly like Vicky Psarakis from The Agonist. I wondered if she had a guest appearance, saw nothing of it, then realized those vocals appear multiple times throughout the album. The appearance of them in this track is how a band can do clean vocals well. They’re frequently most effective when used sparingly, depending on the sub-genre of metal, and they nail it here.

Moving forward, track 4, “Lunar Cathexis,” brings back the clean vocals. This track has a wonderful tremolo picked melody throughout and the clean vocals really add to it, bringing some variety to the affair. I thought the track was very short, but the keyboard outro took it to over 5 minutes. The immediately following track 5, “Spiral of Hypnotism,” begins its 7-minute runtime with some piano left over from the previous track. It’s not always great when tracks seem to bleed into on another, but it’s pulled off well here, and adds to the cohesiveness so far. A melodic, but not flashy lead follows the clean vocals about 3 minutes in. I’m liking what I hear so far, but a longer track with no real chorus doesn’t especially do it for me.

“Sorrow’s Eclipse,” which is track 7 of 8, is the longest track on the album, which, for some reason, even though I have a poor attention span, these longer songs tend to be my favorites. This song is carried by superb instrumentation, specifically multiple guitar leads, which lead back into the searing vocals. The last two minutes or so of this track is where Dawn of Ouroboros truly shine. There’s a melodic keyboard section, which transitions into the searing vocals, into a guitar lead, then into somber melodic vocals with a keyboard backing to end the track. The last track is entirely instrumental, and pretty well sticks with the established sound on the album.

So, what’s the verdict? I dig it. I went into this completely blind, having never heard or heard of the band. I think this is one hell of a debut. The songs are well played, well executed, and they sound like a veteran band. I don’t mean that negatively. There’s a lot of songwriting and instrumental prowess, as well as incredible energy. It’s not album of the year material, and with a lack of strong hooks, I’m not sure I will continue to come back to it, but it’s a purchase for me, and I will greatly be looking forward to future output from these guys (and girl).

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
April 24th, 2020

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