January 14th, 2023 – 9:00 AM
Haunting vocals and poignant chords
Haunting reverb and spine-tingling song titles lay the foundations for Holy Fawn’s latest album, Dimensional Bleed. This release is an artistic, emotional undertaking, and the discernable passion and intensity are evident from start to finish. Dimensional Bleed summons a plethora of brooding, twisted emotions, the band’s follow-up to 2018’s Death Spells.
A tangible sense of foreboding looms in the air as “Hexsewn” enters the airwaves. The dark, dramatic music can’t help but lull the listener into a false sense of security before ripping away the proverbial security blanket. The result is an unforgiving sea of sound and emotion and seeing the album through to fruition serves as the only liferaft. Although wonderfully executed, Dimensional Bleed isn’t for the faint of heart. Music is art, and this album was clearly painted with blood, sweat and tears.
“Hexsewn” paves the way with a series of musical sounds, although the exact instrument in play often feels a bit blurred. However, the album’s overall vibe is one of contemplation, so questioning its precise sound plays into the pensive quality set forth by Holy Fawn. Around the minute and a half mark, “Hexsewn” transforms from a series of musical impressions into something more heartbreaking, as low vocals come into focus until the track ultimately dissolves to grey. Holy Fawn’s decision to end “Hexsewn” with a fade speaks volumes about the album’s hidden intentions, and the listener knows to prepare for an emotional ride.
“Death Is a Relief ” opens with dramatic piano notes and slow, synthetic-sounding drum beats as other mechanical, albeit musical, sounds make their grand entrance. It swiftly transitions to mood-altering music that is, for lack of a better phrase, an emotional awakening. Ryan Osterman’s vocals possess a grainy, distorted quality, and there’s the faint sound of static; the essence of music recorded from beyond the grave is felt throughout the entire track (and, ultimately, the entire album). As the music for “Death Is a Relief” intensifies, a heavier drum beat sets the stage for a plethora of intense melodies. An ever-present minor scale pushes the album to its limits, and reprieve from the pensive and invasive quality is nowhere in sight. As “Death Is a Relief” hits its crescendo, Holy Fawn yanks listeners back to reality with layers of heated vocals, poignant screams bleeding into the foreground.
“Lift Your Head” picks up the pace ever so slightly, still retaining the melodic, and at times depressed, quality that cascades from minor scales. This track possesses a lighter feel, its impression less formidable but just as pensive. The quality is airier, complete with an ethereal sound. “Empty Vials” is a slow burn, opening with background chatter and a few scattered guitar chords. The music slowly fades in as breathy vocals accompany a haunting melody while retaining the evocative quality expressed throughout the entire album. Osterman’s overall sound is reminiscent of Christopher Hall (Stabbing Westward) and Daniel Johns (Silverchair), imbued with a dramatic reverb.
Without a doubt, Dimensional Bleed is a beautiful yet sullen album, an emotive soundtrack to all that beguiles and bewilders in this world.
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