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Pan.Thy.Monium - Dawn Of Dreams CD (album) cover

DAWN OF DREAMS

Pan.Thy.Monium

Experimental/Post Metal


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UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Dawn of Dreams is the debut studio album from Progressive Swedish death metal act Pan.Thy.Monium. Pan.Thy.Monium is yet another of the bands/ projects that prolific Swedish musician/composer/Producer Dan Swanö has been involved in. Just to mention a few of the bands/ projects that he has been a part of in some way I could mention: Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Maceration, Katatonia, Bloodbath, Unicorn, Second Sky. But the list is longer than that. Dan Swanö is without a doubt one of the most important musicians on the Swedish progressive metal and rock scene. Pan.Thy.Monium is definitely in the heavy end of his musical output and people not used to listening to death metal will probably not by converted to a fan of the genre by Dawn of Dreams as it´s not the most easily accessible album in that genre ( Try Crimson by Edge of Sanity instead).

The music is progressive in structure and especially the 21:49 opening track is interesting. Lots of different sections. The other six songs are more basic death metal tracks but still hold progressive elements. All songs are named Untitled. No real names have been given. The metal style is Swedish old school death metal and you´re instantly reminded of early releases from other Swedish death metal bands like Entombed, Dismember, Carnage, Grave and Unleashed. Just add more complex song structures and progressive elements like occasional free jazz sax and spacy synths and you´re just about there. The mood is very sinister and the deep growling vocals sound dark and angry.

All musicians on the album use pseudonyms and it´s only because I know that Dan Swanö used the Day Disyraah monicker on the sole album from the Danish/ Swedish death metal project band Maceration called A Serenade of Agony (1992), that I realised that he was the one responsible for bass and keyboards on Dawn of Dreams. The growling vocals are handled by Derelict aka Roberth Karlsson (also vocalist on the Cryptic album from Edge of Sanity). Winter aka Benny Larsson ( Edge of Sanity) plays the drums while Aag aka Tom Nouga ( Dan Swanö´s brother and later member of Nightingale) plays Lead guitars, organ and barytone saxophone. Mourning aka Robert Ivarsson (Ophthalamia, Ashes, Incapacity) handles the rythm guitars.

The musicianship is excellent and I found myself enjoying more than one odd rythm and spacy synth part here and there. A really well playing band. The compositions are generally very strong too. One of the greatest assets to Pan.Thy.Monium´s sound is the saxophone. It´s not that it is used very often, but when it is used it sounds great and really gives the music some of it´s originality.

The production is pretty old school and sounds very good and raw to my ears but I´ve always enjoyed those early nineties Swedish death metal productions and this is no exception.

Dawn of Dreams is a very unusual death metal release even though there are many recognisable elements on the album. They are just put together in an unconventional way that works wonders IMO. Dawn of Dreams is one of the better albums Dan Swanö has participated on and deserves much more attention than it´s underground status provides it. Recommended to anyone interested in Swedish death metal with added unusual ( slightly avant garde at times) elements. The album deserves somewhere between 3 and 4 stars but I´m gonna go for a 4 star rating. An excellent album.

Report this review (#192628)
Posted Thursday, December 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars The debut album from this band and an album who created quite a stirr back in those days.

This album is by no means straight death metal as expected from all albums at that time. There is in fact a lot of avant garde stuff and some very strange notes on this album. That includes some jazzy stuff too. Pan.Thy.Monium was one of the first avant-garde death metal bands in the scene and responsible for a lot of the bands who followed in their footsteps.

Dawn Of Dreams still hold up against the advent of time. The death metal is at times a bit too standard. But the avant garde and jazz stuff sounds good. The sound is dirty and the same goes for the growling. This is a good avant garde death metal album and one for those who loves this type of music. Unfortunate, I am not one of this flock though. But this album still sounds good to me.

3 stars

Report this review (#623119)
Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
Sagichim
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Pan.Thy.Monium is maybe the most obscure project out of the many projects headed by Dan Swano. The band keeps falling into obscurity even more since they haven't released any album in the past 16 years, but still remains a minor classic in the underground scene of avant-metal. Released in 1992 this album is one of the pioneers to mix extreme metal with clear jazzy influences and other avant-garde elements. I remember hearing two songs from it on the radio in a metal program in 1992, and thought "This i never heard before", not only the music was special but one of the songs was 22 minutes long!. At that time nobody knew it was a Dan Swano project, the musicians listed here are with...well you can say avant-garde names as well. The band has a very interesting sound, and what appears to be clear at first is the contrast between the instruments. Rhythm guitars and the riffing has a very low sludgy tone, it's like the strings are about to fall, guitar sound when it solos does not have your typical extreme metal sound but has a very clear sound with a very jazzy touch, it's like all of a sudden Alan Holdsworth joined the band. Vocals, like the guitars are very low and heavy growls but are not in your face, they are like low quiet growls almost whispering at times, heavy but pleasant. Keys are a nice addition and are done with great taste, always gives the perfect atmosphere to that doomy feel. Saxophone is another unexpected addition and gives that final avant-garde touch, with all kinds of shrieks and avant playing. Bass is groovy, making his way between the riffs, and is not just there under the music, What i like the most are the guitars, the riffs are impressive and the solos are just right, hitting all the right notes with fast playing and great jazzy feel.

The first part of the album contains a 22 minutes long piece of superb progressive extreme metal. The music goes from one idea to the next easily without being repetitive at all. Great riff after great riff, the music builts it self, and goes from slow doomy stuff to faster breaks which keeps the listener on his toes all the time, not knowing where they are going to be in the next minute, this is really progressive in the most classic sense of the word. Again keys gives the perfect mood and suites the music perfectly with a very good sound, perfectly mixed. After about 14 minutes of ever-changing music going in several direction the band is calming down, and the music changes to some latin language like spoken vocals, when in the back clean guitar and bass are babbling, and are actually very good. It then goes back to the heavy music and as it approaches the end it slows down and some piano notes are joining in along with the sax to finish the piece in the most beautiful way, giving it a very good closure feel. Amazing! This is one of those music pieces that goes by so quickly that makes you wonder "Was that 20 minutes now??" This track is worth having the album alone.

The second part includes six tracks ranging from 3 to 4 minutes songs, all contains interesting and unusual riffing or instrumentation but still are less progressive and exciting than the first piece, they do not bring the album down although at first listen can be considered as more straight forward, which they are definitely not. All songs are untitled BTW, so another highlight is the sixth track, which starts with something that sounds like a saxophone under water, bass plays the main riff and as the heavy distortion bang comes it reveals a beautiful clarinet line, than all joining in the riff as it switches time signatures few times changing the main riff slightly, superb, superb, superb!!

In conclusion even after 20 years after it's release and as evolving as this genre is, the music still is refreshing, exciting and full of ideas. Extreme prog metal lovers that don't mind heavy growls in their music, will lick their fingers on this one, secondly this would appeal to fans of bands like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Mr. Bungle and other avant extreme bands. As it may seem weird at the begining, it's really rewarding at the end. If the rest of the album would have been as interesting as the first track i would rate it with 5 stars without hesitating, but being slightly inferior this is a 4 stars minimum. Highly Recommended!

Report this review (#756413)
Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars PAN.THY.MONIUM was one of the earliest projects of Dan Swanö, who has become one of Sweden's most prolific veterans of extreme metal and this band served as a side project apart from his regular death metal gig in Edge Of Sanity with PAN.THY.MONIUM allowing a more experimental and avant-garde approach by taking death doom metal into more progressive arenas. The band started out anonymously with Dan's older brother Dag Swanö along with drummer Benny Larsson from Edge Of Sanity with Robert Ivarsson (rhythm guitars) and vocalist Robert Karlsson completing the lineup. The band members all had pseudonyms and remained mysterious with untitled tracks that began on the 1990 demo "Dawn" and the debut EP "Dream II." With the release of the first full-length album DAWN OF DREAMS in 1992, the band had finally revealed their identities but still opted for untitled tracks however they all have since been renamed on later reissues.

While Edge Of Sanity was just joining the early old school death metal club, PAN.THY.MONIUM was an altogether different beast despite being grounded in the same death metal scene at its core. This band cranked out heavy doom inspired death riffs with unintelligible guttural growls but also had a murky atmospheric dread that sculpted the bombast into something even more menacing and with the addition of the supplemental sounds a saxophone and violin, the project took extreme metal into completely unexplored realms. The compositions took great liberty in expanding the death metal paradigm as well with Dag Swanö's lead guitar antics taking many shapes including traditional bluesy shuffles, thrash metal palm muting punchiness and just plain weird experimental touches. Since the song titles were non-existent and lyrics indecipherable, the album relied on atmospheric interpretations and the vocals used were just another instrument.

The opening track which takes up nearly half the album is a monstrous progressive behemoth. It begins with a ticking of a clock and a saxophone sequence which makes you think this is a John Zorn album or some other avant-garde jazz artist but once the doom metal riffs start chugging away and the death growls howl into the night, it's time for good old fashioned Swedish death doom metal. The track starts off sounding like generic old school death metal but the frenzy of progressive time signature outbursts soon find more confidence to express themselves and the track begins to meander all over the place. The heavy metal bombast is pacified by the atmospheric keyboards which sometimes sound a little cheesy but are quite effective in elevating the overall mood setting into a bizarre hybrid of space rock and extreme metal. Touches of jazz are inserted when least expected and despite the dominance of the metal aspects finds ways to shift the focus including eerie psychedelic spoken word segments. Sounds like Swedish so i guess there are some meaningful narrations.

After the near 22 minute opener, the following six tracks may be shorter with the longest just shy of the six minute mark but in aggregate pull off the same varying instrumental gymnastics as the first track with the heavy metal guitar riffing alternating between dirge-like doom and the more upbeat death metal freneticism. In some cases there is more attention given to catchy melodic keyboard rolls that are implemented in an extremely spooky and alienating manner. While the remaining tracks pretty much finds new variations on the similar themes, the last one is perhaps the weirdest and most daring as it implements all the different sounds the album had to offer in concentrate. It begins with a heavy percussive stomp and almost whispered death growls but really pulls out the avant-garde punches with a series of sax squawks, post-punk bass attacks and sound effects taken to the max.

PAN.THY.MONIUM was and remains one of the most unique sounding extreme metal bands even within the prolific lengthy list of projects that Dan Swanö has involved himself in throughout the last few decades. This band not only expanded the boundaries of the nascent paradigm that was gestating into both the death and doom metal worlds of the old school era but also borrowed liberally from 70s progressive rock as well as the most experimental edges of post-punk and electronica. Add the John Zorn sax squawks and you have the perfect recipe for something completely out of the box. The band put out three full-length albums which incrementally ratcheted up the progressive and experimental features laid down on DAWN OF DREAMS. While the band's signature sound reached its apex on 1996's "Khaooos And Kon-Fus-Ion," the startling hybridization of sounds had already gestated into its full Frankenstein form on this debut. This is a highly entertaining and satisfying slice of adventurous experimental metal not to be missed by those who crave such things.

Renamed titles:

Untitled 1 = Raagoonshinnaah (21:49)

Untitled 2 = Eepitaffph (5:51)

Untitled 3 = Sieegeh (4:03)

Untitled 4 = IV (3:06)

Untitled 5 = Zenotaffph (2:42)

Untitled 6 = Amaaraah (4:26)

Untitled 7 = Ekkoecce (3:00)

Report this review (#2132209)
Posted Tuesday, January 29, 2019 | Review Permalink

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