Tuesday 29 September 2020

Dawn Of A Dark Age - La Tavola Osca

Labels: Antiq Records

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 10th Jul 2020


1. La Tavola Osca (I Atto)

2. La Tavola Osca (II Atto)

In a rare moment of vanity over the weekend, I realised that the blog's surpassed 10,000 hits for the third month in a row! So in celebration, I've put together a new review schedule for the coming weeks with a host of truly obscure and challenging bands, alongside a few other things. It starts with Italian experimental black metal duo Dawn Of A Dark Age. Centred around multi-instrumentalist Vittorio Sabelli and includes the vocals of Emanuele Prandoni (of Progenie Terrestre Pura, Ancient etc), La Tavola Osca is the sixth full-length to come from the project since 2014. It was released via French label Antiq Records in July.

This release is split into two songs that span over forty one minutes. ‘La Tavola Osca (I Atto)’ begins in poetic fashion with Italian spoken-word sitting atop of stirring ambience. The calming clarinet that Vittorio is known for soon makes it’s first appearance alongside acoustic guitar. So far though, it all feels a bit strange. Italian bands have always been known for their flamboyance, experimentation and orchestral sensibilities, and this release Is no different but it’s more classical than extreme at the moment. The black metal elements of the song take their time to build, not overpowering things right away and remaining melodic when they do truly take hold. Upbeat riffs and blasts are joined here by the black metal roars of Emanuele Prandoni, bringing things well and truly to life. 

Given this song itself is just over twenty-three minutes in length, you can expect to be taken in many different directions musically and that’s exactly what Dawn Of A Dark Age does. From black metal power, you’re guided along via a soothing choir and then placed in the warming arms of jazz courtesy of some truly magnificent clarinet playing before clean choral singing and folkish guitar. Like an opera it contains many movements and can at times be difficult to get your head around. That’s not taken anything away from the quality of the musicianship, it’s just hard to place where this release wants to go.

You’re greeted by melancholic piano that would sit well in a basement jazz club in Paris on ‘La Tavola Osca (II Atto)’ and it’s melody follows through in multi-instrumental fashion, with there addition of stirring Italian operatic vocal joining the myriad of approaches that make up this release. It’s certainly not for you if you’re looking for something that requires little thought to process. The mix of classical, opera and extreme metal is a thing to behold and it does begin to make sense here as well.

This second song is on the (slightly) shorter side at seventeen plus minutes but when Dawn Of A Dark Age brings out the big guns, which in this case are the guitars and the roaring vocals, there’s both an element of dark post-metal and blackened madness about it. Not quite to the levels of Japan’s Sigh, but not too far from it. The song is also split into two halves, separated by atmospheric sounds of the sea and the penny whistles and drums of an invading army. At this point the vocals sound more like hellish battle cries or even tribal chants, to be more exact. I think this proves how hard it is to truly characterise this release.

This is a strange but intriguing beast. No one musical element remains throughout and it’s the inner-workings of the projects mastermind that are laid bare here. Vittorio Sabelli has created something both complex and engrossing via Dawn Of A Dark Age and with the vocals of Emanuele Prandoni, he’s brought it to life in a frightening way. It’s not an easy listen but thanks to the musicianship on show, it is a worthwhile one.

You can stream La Tavola Osca, as well as three other excerpt tracks through the Antiq Records bandcamp page below:-

You can also purchase the release on CD and digitally there as well.

Dawn Of A Dark Age - https://www.facebook.com/dawnofadarkage/

Antiq Records - https://www.facebook.com/antiq.label/

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