Recorded and mixed by Joe Clayton at No Studio in Manchester from September to December, 2021. Piano was recorded by Matt Brown Recordings. Additional mangling was performed at home. Cover painting by Mitchell Nolte. Hieroglyphics by Emma Falconer. Layout by Stuart Gardham. Released on Friday 19 August 2022.
And featuring Alastair Mitchell as “The Master”.
Dawnwalker, led by songwriter Mark Norgate, is a revolving cast of musicians based in London, England. House of Sand is their fifth album, although no two of their records sound quite the same beyond being a blend of heavy rock, metal and more experimental styles to create something heavy, atmospheric and enigmatic.
I leapt at reviewing this album when I first read the description. I’m a sucker for experimental music—give me something interesting to listen to. It then took me a lot of listens to finally ‘get’ this album. It has a very dark, laid back and almost melancholic feel to it.
As the promo material aludes, “As pictured on Mitchell Nolte’s cover painting, the album is set against a backdrop of idyllic suburbs and the darkness that may be lurking beneath. References abound to the darker side of the human psyche and a spiritual malaise (the “demon of noontide”) which once contracted gradually destroys all in its path.”
With echoes of British indie and prog rock, the songs meander and morph into new shapes. A lo-fi chord progression that suddenly explodes into a heavy, angry burst of energy. A gentle melody that is overlaid with spoken vocals. A steady riff that builds to a conclusion.
There is very much a sameness to many of the tracks. Like watching the sea undualating beneath a grey British sky. You would be wrong to dismiss this as a dull. There is a lot of life and energy and intrigue about these tracks. The songs are carried along, wave after wave with the distinct sense of a great power beneath that could suddenly crush everything in its path.
There is a wonderful Britishness about this album. An unstated elegance and repressed anger that lurks in a dark place just below the surface. It took me a lot of effort to hear this album for what it is. It was easy to dismiss when I wasn’t in the right place, but now all I can hear is beauty… and pain. This is a very human record, one that could almost be an anthem for our current times.
Review score: 80%
Viral Propaganda PR contacted me inviting me to preview Dawnwalker forthcoming album, thank you. I have no connections to either Viral Propaganda PR or Dawnwalker. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Viral Propaganda PR, and to Dawnwalker for continuing to create fresh, exciting music.