GOLDEN DAWN / APEIRON "Split Demo 95" Double CD
Tour de Garde, Iron Bonehead Productions
We cannot stress enough how crucial this recording is within the canon of Austrian black metal, and it is truly time to recognize the importance of these projects and the dynamic world created by Golden Dawn and its architect, Stefan Traunmuller. There are a lot of old demos getting reissue treatment these days, and within that spectrum there are many which have the charm and nostalgia of being from another era, but few of these recordings stand on their own as fully-conceived and fleshed out works of art. This release is not only remarkable for its expansive range of styles but for the sheer scope of vision that’s rarely found on the demo tape format. I can personally assure you that this is one of those rarest dark gems that up until now has criminally gone, for the most part, unacknowledged. Golden Dawn formed as a one man project around 1993 and unleashed their great debut demo “Lullaby” two years later. The initial style of music is a combination of raw nordic black metal with a huge reliance on keyboards and ambient passages to provide a deeper and more mystical feeling that empowers the music. Also in 1995, Traunmuller decided to release a split between his main project Golden Dawn and a new project, Apeiron, one that was purely dark ambient based. The result was the split demo 95 (originally issued on Impure Creations, France). The style of black metal here is epic in terms of complexity of composition and epic in terms of the majestic feeling enveloping each song. The collection is truly a masterful execution of medieval ambient passages paired with raw atmospheric black metal. One thing that really stands out is how varied the style is across these recordings, yet it’s cohesion as an entire story or epic tale is incredibly consistent. Within the boundaries of black metal and dark ambient Traunmuller was wildly inventive and his courage really shines listening to this musical odyssey over 20 years later. Not only is this a prime example of raw, demo-era BM from Austria (see: Abigor, Summoning, Pazuzu, Trifixion, Amestigon et al) but the Apeiron material is also some of the strongest dark-ambient (or dark-wave) music from within the mid-nineties black metal scene. Whereas virtually all of these types of projects are wholly indebted to Mortiis (and the style he defined), Apeiron has more of a unique identity that draws from the cosmic synthesizer music of Jean-Michel Jarre or ancient eastern meditation music. Now with this keyboard driven style enjoying a revival (sometimes referred to as ‘dungeon-synth’), the importance of these recordings is more crucial than ever.