Adjectives like oceanic, atmospheric, and epic are what spring to mind when describing Red Sparowes' debut, At the Soundless Dawn. Their music is all of these things and more. Red Sparowes are often mentioned in the same breath as instrumental bands Isis, Pelican, and Sunn 0))), and while they share influences and have similarities, Red Sparowes go off in a slightly different direction, with metal playing a more subdued role in the sonic architecture. Most of the tracks on At the Soundless Dawn are musical poetry. They are languid and expansive, carrying the listener across vast distances, simulating both the endless unfolding of open road, the gentle rock of waves, and the soaring and plummeting of mountain ranges. Several musical themes are picked up and repeated across the seven album tracks, further strengthening the sense that a coherent story is being told, albeit without words. The track titles, when read as though they were each a line of a poem, provide additional insight into the album's themes and reinforce the storytelling power of the album: "Alone and Unaware, the Landscape Was Transformed in Front of Our Eyes," "Buildings Began to Stretch Wide Across the Sky, and the Air Filled with a Reddish Glow," "The Soundless Dawn Came Alive as Cities Began to Mark the Horizon," "Mechanical Sounds Cascaded Though the City Walls and Everyone Reveled in Their Ignorance," "A Brief Moment of Clarity Broke Through the Deafening Hum, But It Was Too Late," "Our Happiest Days Slowly Began to Turn into Dust," "The Sixth Extinction Crept Up Slowly, Like Sunlight Through the Shutters, as We Looked Back in Regret." Despite the fact that several members of the band have played in more metal-oriented outfits (specifically Isis and Neurosis), Red Sparowes' music has more muted sensibilities. This is not to say that there's nothing heavy on the album; nothing could be further from the truth, particularly on "Alone and Unaware" and "Buildings Begin to Stretch Wide."
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Alexandra Zorn