Golden Dawn's 1996 debut, The Art of Dreaming, marries the hoarse, guttural vocals and piledriving rhythms of grindcore and black metal to what was at the time a surprisingly large dose of '70s-style progressive rock. An early and impressive slab of symphonic black metal, The Art of Dreaming features songs that whipsaw back and forth between foreboding symphonic passages similar to some of the Italian prog bands of the '70s, pastoral and largely acoustic interludes as lovely as anything from Gentle Giant or Barclay James Harvest, and more aggressive growl-and-burn passages. Surprising elements like the classical synth (with operatic vocals!) title track and the multi-part sweep of the suite-like "The Mystery of My Kingdom Afar" would not sound out of place on an Emerson, Lake & Palmer album, but the black metal aggression of the opening "Ideosynchronicity" makes it plain what decade this was recorded in. Napalm Records reissued this 1996 European-only release in early 2003, along with the group's belated second album, Masquerade.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason