Here’s a chance for you to tell our readers about your debut album Timeweaver. But could you please start off by introducing the readers to the band and give a short version of the biography?
Sunless Dawn is a progressive metal band, inspired by bands like Edge of Sanity, Opeth and Ihsahn.
We started playing together in 2016. Shortly thereafter, we had our first three concerts in the Wacken Metal Battle, which we somehow managed to win. Having been a band for only half a year, we suddenly stood on a stage in front of 10.000 people at Wacken Open Air in Germany – no small feat!
Afterwards, we spent two years writing and recording our debut album Timeweaver, released under Prime Collective.
And now onto Timeweaver… track-by-track, what inspired you, what topics are you dealing with, what do you want to express with this song etc.
The grand intro to our album! The track is packed with heavy riffs and a massive wall of orchestral sounds.
The lyrics, an excerpt from An Essay on Man by the poet Alexander Pope, suggest that we are perhaps not as much in control of our lives as we would like to think.
Aether was our attempt to write a single, but we somehow still made it too long to be played on the radio, heh.
We chose it as the first song after the intro (Apeiron) because we feel it adequately represents the rest of the album: It varies between soft, dreamlike passages, catchy guitar-leads, and death metalesque riffs which never fail to make your head bang.
The lyrics were inspired by an episode of Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson. The idea is that we were much more in contact with the stars and planets of the night sky earlier in our history; we used them to navigate, track the passage of time, and guide our fate. Today, people rarely consider what happens outside of Earth, and even if they wanted to, light pollution has blocked out most of the night sky.
3. The Arbiter
The song kicks off with a heavy intro riff, accompanied by our drummer massacring the double bass drums (that guy never skips leg day). Probably the heaviest song on the album actually – it would be cool to hear a dub-step remix of this song!
The ‘arbiter’ refers to Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist in charge of the a-bomb research project in USA during WW2. The last sentence of the song is perhaps the coolest one-liner on the album: “The sky is lit by the hate of man”.
4. Biomorph I: Polarity Portrayed
The intro to the 3-part song!
5. Biomorph II: Collide into Being
The heavy part \m/
6. Biomorph III: Between Meadow and Mire
The prog part!
Biomorph is probably our favorite track on the album. It’s an extremely complex song, lots of quirky riffs in odd time signatures and passages which could just as well be found on black metal, funk or jazz albums. Midway through Biomorph, you will also experience a beautiful choir part, sung by professional opera singers.
Lyrically, you witness the first-person perspective of a cyborg (very sci-fi!). The cyborg has had so many human parts replaced by mechanical “upgrades” that it starts to wonder whether humanity left in it/her/him. We were inspired by the manga Ghost in the Shell, which takes place in future Japan, where biotechnology has allowed humans to enhance their cognitive abilities, strength, etc. In our eyes, this seems like a very realistic future scenario, and it comes with a lot of ethical problems.
7. Grand Inquisitor
You gotta have a fast and mean song with a catchy chorus, right? It contains some of our heaviest riffs and is quite taxing to play! #chops
The lyrics are based on a chapter in The Brothers Karamazov by Fyoder Dostoyevsky, in which one brother tells the other a story. During the time of the Inquisition, Jesus returns to Earth to perform miracles and gain the adoration of the people. The Catholic leader of the Inquisition, the Grand Inquisitor, captures Jesus and orders him to be burnt alive. The majority of the story consists of the Grand Inquisitor’s monologue to Jesus about why Christ is no longer needed, and how he has failed mankind.
8. Erindringens Evighed
This one’s a little bit more laidback – it’s kinda the ballad of the album, with an extended thematic middle section. The music really serves as an illustrative background to the very romanticized imagery of the lyrics.
This is the only song on the album in Danish, with lyrics taken from Søren Kierkegaard’s Enten Eller. In this passage, Kierkegaard criticizes Hegel, another well-known philosopher. This is a gold nugget for people interested in philosophy, but we mostly chose to include this passage on the album due to its poetic beauty.
Some will know that Sovereign also served as our demo a few years back, and for good reason. All the elements that make up Sunless Dawn are presented here, and we’re glad we didn’t skip it for the sake of making a shorter record.
The famous book Leviathan by the philosopher Thomas Hobbes inspired the lyrics for this song. The book argues for the need of a state ruled by a Sovereign, since in the case of an ungoverned world (what he calls the ‘state of nature’) it’s ‘war of all against all’.
How was your first “real” studio recording experience?
We worked with a bunch of skilled and experienced people, so we really learnt a lot! It was also a somewhat scary process, because whatever you’re playing is being immortalized on the album, so it better be good. Luckily, it turned out great, and we’re very much looking forward to doing it again.
However, the recording process was also a bumpy ride at times. During vocal tracking, our lead singer had food poisoning, so the time in between takes was spent puking, hah. Also, when we were recording drums, we were delayed because stuff kept breaking.
Could you please tell us a bit about the artwork – who made it, what’s the concept behind it etc. and how important do you feel it is to have a cool artwork?
The artwork was created by Eliran Kantor, a German artist who has made covers for Testament, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Atheist, Bloodbath, and many more. It is often the case that your first impression of an album is from seeing the artwork, hence it was important for us to find an artist who was capable of accurately translating the our music into artwork. Eliran certainly lived up to this task!
We sent Eliran some demos and lyrics, from which he came up with the concept of a group of people “digging up” the night sky from the sand beneath them. Since the atoms in our bodies originated from fusion processes within the cores stars and later during supernova explosions, there is a sense in which the people on the artwork are responsible for their own creation. It’s very grandiose, but so is our music!
This is your debut on the progressive death metal scene under the banner of Sunless Dawn. It has already received rave reviews from the critics – The Power of Metal.dk webzine included J. What are your own feelings on the positive reactions?
We are absolutely thrilled by the positive reception Timeweaver has received! We were convinced all along that the music we were making was epic, but now we also have outside confirmation of that fact 🙂 However, there are still a lot of metal fans on this planet who we have yet to convince!
Is there any track that means something special for you on the album?
It almost feels like picking out your favorite child, heh, but if we had to, we’d go with Biomorph. The songwriting and execution shows off the best of our abilities, and recording the track together with a group of opera singers in an opera house was a fantastic experience. Once we become rich, we would love to make an animated music video for this track.
What’s next on your list, any upcoming tours and gigs planned?
Our next three gigs are with the Prime is Giving tour in February – a fantastic initiative for raising money to the Ronald McDonald House. Check out the events on Facebook!
You can expect to see us on a DK tour during fall, and hopefully we’ll travel through Europe next winter!
Also, we’re already working on the follow-up to Timeweaver, so stay tuned!
Thanks a lot for your time. Any last words for your fans and our fellow readers?
Sunless Dawn loves you!
Henrik Munch (vocals)
Christoffer Hildebrandt (guitars)
Michael Møller (guitars)
Eskil Rask (bass)
Thomas Mascagni (drums)