Holy Fawn - Dimensional Bleed Music Album Reviews

Holy Fawn - Dimensional Bleed Music Album Reviews
With a slightly subtler approach, the post-metal band relies on familiar tricks, gesturing at widescreen emotions in an endless sea of sine wave swells.

Over the past decade of heavy shoegaze music, Holy Fawn have enjoyed a uniquely organic success story. The Arizona four-piece broke out with their 2018 debut, Death Spells, which they self-released online before it garnered re-releases from British punk/metal label Holy Roar and New York indie/emo mainstay Triple Crown. They’ve since found fans in post-hardcore-turned-prog mainstays Thrice, Swedish metal giants Cult of Luna, and perhaps most crucially, blackgaze icons Deafheaven, all of whom have invited Holy Fawn on tour. For modern fans of shoegaze, blackgaze, or post-metal, Holy Fawn have become the ultimate “recommended if you like” band. They’re the people’s champs.

It's easy to see why. Holy Fawn draw on some of the most beloved “epic” music of the past 30 years: the drawn-out crescendos of Explosions in the Sky, the mainstage (not dance tent) electronics of early M83, the textural lushness of Slowdive, the intimate grandeur of Sigur Rós, and of course, the Norway-via-California black metal screeches of Deafheaven. These are all bands that are dead serious in their sweeping melodrama, bands that seem tailor-made for soundtracking (or even creating) profound moments in listeners’ lives, and that’s what Holy Fawn aim for, too. Even before you press play, their new album, Dimensional Bleed, is full of song titles (“Death Is a Relief,” “True Loss,” “Lift Your Head”) that aim to evoke widescreen emotions.

Here’s the thing about those types of emotions, though: In real life, they’re completely unpredictable. You never know how you’re going to feel in the aftermath of a life-changing event, whether it be a breakup, a cross-country move, an unexpected death, or even just a random revelation about mortality while stargazing. Lyrically, Holy Fawn’s three vocalists are too opaque in their nature-infused mortality metaphors (“I am an ugly root/Knotting itself out of life”) to discern what, exactly, is eating away at them. But musically, the emotional cues are more baldly manipulative than the soundtrack of a daytime soap.

Picture this: a swell of warm, glitchy electronics, keening guitars, and intimate, close-mic’d singing. A gradual crescendo, louder guitars, heavy methodical drumming. Several minutes in, the tone shifts from hopeful to mournful, and all of the sudden: screaming. The tempo rarely rises above a dirge, the songs (including interludes) average out to five minutes apiece, and the screaming never, ever starts more than three minutes before the song ends—that would ruin the climax. Being formulaic isn’t always a bad thing—in some cases, it’s part of an artist’s charm—but when nearly all of Holy Fawn’s songs expect you to feel things without much deviation from the form, their albums resemble an endless sea of sine wave swells.

Dimensional Bleed introduces a bit more subtlety than Death Spells, with bookend tracks “Hexsewn” and “Blood Memory” in particular making use of minimalistic sound design that goes far beyond “rock band adds synths” stereotypes. These quieter moments are Holy Fawn’s most unpredictable—check out all of the tasteful tricks and effects deployed on the vocals and drums on gentle mid-album highlight “Amaranthine”—much as they were when the band first started prominently featuring more electronic textures on the back half of 2020’s The Black Moon EP. This sparkling, glitchy side is best married to their more bombastic tendencies on lead single “Death Is a Relief.” Through sudden beat switches, constantly churning Stranger Things synths, and satisfying exclamation marks (that spliced-in, breathy four-beat drum hit is very cool), it actually achieves that pit-of-the-stomach, missing-a-step-on-the-staircase feeling that is so often missing from Holy Fawn’s bold, underlined attempt at emotional resonance.

The black metal goblin rasp that inevitably shows up at the climax of “Death Is a Relief” is effective there and in a few other moments—particularly “Void of Light,” where it’s finally paired with drums that ever so slightly pick up the pace. In general though, Holy Fawn’s use of that very specific type of screaming feels like a patch-emblazoned battle vest thrown on to impress a friend’s older brother. There’s nothing else in their sound that’s metal in the slightest. Black metal in particular, defined by rapid-fire assaults of blastbeats and tremolo guitar picking, relies on an intensity that Holy Fawn’s heavy-lidded reveries, which fall squarely into the category of post-rock, never so much as hint at. In a crowded blackgaze landscape that’s quickly becoming just as stylistically restrictive as the genres it initially sought to leave behind, these hallmarks are still treated with blind reverence, despite the nontraditional settings.

In the press materials for Dimensional Bleed, Holy Fawn hammer home that they are covering “uncharted territory,” “blazing new trails,” and “inhabiting multiple states of sonic existence all at once.” But in 2022, is their combination of styles really all that revolutionary? A decade-plus ago, heavy, metal-inflected shoegaze was a tough sell (and a lot tougher to produce). Despite being critical successes, Deafheaven and Alcest were clowned relentlessly by metal purists, and Nothing spent years being either the only loud band or the only slow band on live bills, depending on whether they played with indie or hardcore acts. Holy Fawn have been welcomed by an existing scene with open arms. Perhaps what’s holding them back is a lack of the hunger and iconoclasm that pushed their forebears into uncomfortable, groundbreaking spaces.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Holy Fawn - Dimensional Bleed Music Album Reviews Holy Fawn - Dimensional Bleed Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on September 19, 2022 Rating: 5


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