Mouth of the Architect – Dawning (Translation Loss)Sunday, 14th July 2013
Five years ago, Mouth of the Architect looked like the next band to break out of the post-metal ruckus and ascend to sub-Isis levels. Their 2008 effort Quietly was achingly broad and cerebral, with a title track to forever fawn over, in addition to star-gazing atmospheres and moods. The band appeared to be in perfect position to make a run for it, only to have been beset by a quiet period that produced only 2010’s The Violence Beneath since. Suffice it to say, their new platter (and fourth overall) Dawning is quite the disappointment.
With a wobbly production (someone turn on the snare, please) to start, Dawning never quite gets going in the right direction. Attempts to build songs ala Quietly are tepid at best, as on “Lullabye,” which begins with a promising gentle caress, only to be soiled by some rather irritating clean vocals. Not that clean vocals don’t have a place in this field (see Ghost Brigade, who are probably the best at it), but a large portion of the clean vocals on Dawning fail to place well; they’re too forced, not harmonious enough, and are redundant. It’s a big misstep across the board, one that takes the whole ship down.
In any event, Mouth of the Architect still have a grip on dynamics (see the fantastic “Patterns”), which not surprisingly, is the album’s best cut. Maybe because the clean vocals were toned down, or it’s the most relative song to Quietly, but DR can’t help but think “What if?” had the rest of Dawning followed suit.