Beyond Dawn cannot disappoint. As hard as they try to radically change on each release, the band never alienates or causes one to scream "sellout!" Blessed with the gift of tact, they naturally adapt. Whereas other Norwegian acts like Ulver, Arcturus, or Kovenant have been too forceful on recent releases, making the music strange, electronic, and somewhat original on one hand, but contrived on the other, Beyond Dawn emerges from in chrysalis beautiful and transformed. Anyone whom digested the ultra-rare In Reverie eagerly awaited this album, and this proved a pleasant surprise full of subdued beat-driven melancholic pop songs pumped with electronic and avant-garde genius. The Soundgarden-inspired "Violence Heals" starts the party with a stripped down approach that serves the band's future well. Trip-hop meets metal on "Addictions Are Private," featuring female vocals, phat beats, a devilish bass-line, and the early rumblings of Beyond Dawn's trademark trombone, among other things. "Certain Qualities" could be an underground radio hit with the goth/industrial/heavy alternative crowd. The song's catchy chorus, simplistic bassline, and fuzzy guitar crunch almost fit on a Bush or NIN album -- almost being the key word. Beyond Dawn approaches the fine line between tasteless commercialism and bizarre inventiveness. The highlight of the album has to be "Cigarette," if not for the dark, foreboding guitars and droning repetition of the drums and bass, then for the magical trombone/vocal fusion that bursts forth during the chorus. Evoking striking imagery in the listener, the song plays like a musical metaphor for the decaying decadence of Weimar cabarets. Goth fans will unite for the closer "Pacific Blue Disorder," with its Cure-meets-Slint-meets-horn section intro. This album took a few listens to sink in, but, as always, inspired rather than disappointed.
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