Mouth of the Architect - Dawning | Review

‘Dawning’ is the first full length release from Ohio’s Mouth of the Architect since 2008’s ‘Quietly’. The five year layoff between albums has been well worth the wait as ‘Dawning’ packs over 53 minutes of atmospheric sludge into 6 monumental tracks. The quintet of drummer David Mann, vocalist/keyboardist/sampler Jason Watkins, co-guitarist/vocalists Kevin Schindel and Steve Brooks (No. Not the one from Floor/Torche/Cavity) and bassist Evan Danielson have crafted a superbly dynamic album that resonates in the deepest part of the soul.

The album title and cover immediately make one think of a sunrise. The imagery of light meeting darkness, of that which was closed now being open, permeates the album. The duality of tranquility and harshness starts right with opener “Lullabye” and continues until closer “The Other Son” fades away. Their balance of massive riffs coupled with more delicate guitar work can only be described as epic. Soaring post-metal tremolos float and weave like a butterfly between the legs of lumbering giants.

The triple vocal approach comes across as entirely genuine and honest. While the differing voices may all speak as one, each has its own part to play. Each represents an aspect of ourselves. The harsh vocals are that part that seeks to dominate, the cleanest the part that longs for peace, and the middle range represents that happy medium most of us live with. With music this emotional, the multitude of voices also acts to let us know we are not alone. If the harmonizing vocals, massive riffs and heart-wrenching guitars aren’t enough, the keys and samples of Watkins bring yet another element to the lush soundscape. Their presence is subtle and understated yet highly effective, enveloping the being effortlessly. Completing the cycle is the ambulatory bass and deceptively tribal percussion. Together the quintet creates a sound that spreads across the listener’s consciousness just as the sun’s rays spread forth from the waking horizon.

‘Dawning’s dynamic movements from dark and heaving sludge into soaring and soothing melodies and back again feels like riding the currents of air rising from the landscape or cresting waves as they loom mightily over the shore, crashing down and sweeping away the detritus. It’s that kind of fluidity and calming catharsis that allows ‘Dawning’ to integrate itself with the listener deeper and deeper with each subsequent spin.

Warmth. Beauty. Strength. Cleansing. Nothing is static. Each day holds the potential to start again. Let the triumph of ‘Dawning’ motivate you to push toward the horizon and what lies beyond.

Matt Hinch

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Matt Hinch lives an unassuming life on the backroads outside Forest Mills, Ontario, Canada. He packs in as much metal as he possible can amid factory work, raising three daughters with his wife and working the land. In addition to Scratch the Surface Matt also writes for Hellbound, Ghost Cult Magazine, About Heavy Metal and his own blog, Kingdom of Noise.
Keep up with him on Twitter @MetalMatt_KofN.