Dawn of Ouroboros – Velvet Incandescence (Prosthetic Records)Wednesday, 26th April 2023
Having made a sizable splash with their debut The Art of Morphology in 2020, the Dawn of Ouroboros camp has been busy since. Signing to Prosthetic Records in 2022, the band are ready to unleash their second album in Velvet Incandescence. Boasting an eclectic mix of black/death metal with a significant progressive lean, and even a bit of post metal misanthropy for good measure, they’ve cultivated a signature sound that can go in any number of directions.
What we have with Velvet Incandescence is a band who have grown their songwriting abilities, resulting in an increase of maturity and flow in the arrangements. From the dreamlike melodies that begin “Healing Grounds” accompanied by Chelsea Murphy’s soothing cleans, to an Alcest-like lucid guitar lead backed up by Murphy’s biting screams to transition to a progressive blackened state. There are numerous stylistic changes throughout the entirety of Velvet Incandescence, yet it’s never jarring or forced, but smooth and fluid. This principle continues in the punchy “Testudines” with melodic passages balancing out direct and crunchy rhythms.
“Iron Whispers” and “Cephalopodic Void” lean towards the death metal side of their sound with big riffs being featured, but not without well-timed melodies instituting balance. Melancholy has its day on many occasions, most prominently in luminous entries like “Levitating Pacifics,” emotively demonstrating the band’s ability to invoke forlorn emotions through instrumentation. If the black metal dimension is your cup of tea, “Rise from Disillusion” is likely to land, with sharp vocal shrieks and a fervent guitar attack, which also conversely contains some of Murphy’s most stirring and elegant vocal performances. Closer “Velvet Moon” contains a simple, heartstring pulling piano intro that sets the tone for an exhilaratingly dreary finale that is hard to get out of one’s psyche.
As mentioned previously, Dawn of Ouroboros have shown immense growth in their song composition. Enough emphasis can’t be made on that factoid. Now, they certainly were no slouch on The Art of Morphology, and the musicianship was and still is in the high echelons. However, the intriguing way every track moves through multitudes of time changes, varying tempos, and shifts of mood, all while being structurally cohesive and organic, is not a simple feat. Emphasizing that is the quality production job, with the right pieces higher or lower in the mix at the right times, making the music as impactful as it should be.
Dawn of Ouroboros is a band growing in front of our delighted ears. What was a mightily impressive group with loads of potential has emerged out of the proverbial cocoon; evolved into a project overflowing with creativity, poise, and a refined songwriting acumen. Moreover, with further tightening of the instrumentation, and Murphy’s powerfully versatile vocals showing even more strength and radiance, what we get is an LP that doesn’t have much in the way of drawbacks – though who knows how good they can get? Velvet Incandescence is an imaginative, wonderfully crafted album that runs the gamut of emotions, and is rare in that it legitimately possesses something for any fan of heavy music.