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Hello, plains walkers! A few months back, Connor and I bent our own “rules” pertaining to some album coverage. Typically, we prefer to review albums that are dropped in the same year we record an episode. However, we made an exception for Dawnwalker’s fourth LP, Ages, which was independently released by the London-based outfit back in December 2020. The album would have most certainly crested the tops of our respective year-end lists last year had we done our jobs and been more thorough in our research, but so it goes.
Mark Norgate is Dawnwalker’s lead songwriter, who founded the project as a bedroom endeavor back in 2011. Drummers, flutists, bassists, and vocalists ebb and flow throughout the band’s discography like a revolving door; however, Mark remains the constant. Moreover, he pens the overarching concept for each record. He notes that conceptual ideas arise from difficult-to-define obsessions in his personal life, which could range from pieces of art like Ted Nasmith (the artist who hand-painted Ages’ cover) to a director’s filmography. And while these obsessions are challenging to articulate, one thing is for certain: Dawnwalker’s music is colossal and cinematic in scope.
The conceptual underpinnings of Ages served as a hook for both Connor and myself. Giddy at the sight of not one, not two, but seven Gandalf-like individuals depicted on the album artwork, was enough to compel Connor to review this opus having not even pressed play on Bandcamp. Little did he know that the sweeping, gargantuan timbres contained therein would catapult the record into the upper echelon of his favorite releases from 2020. I found myself similarly awestruck by Ages’ weighty compositions. Most of its runtime is composed of tracks that approach or exceed the eleven-minute mark. And although that sounds daunting, each piece is balanced with kinetic shifts. Be it blankets of wind or oceanic tides stirring a sense of serenity, volcanic barrages of molten black metal unexpectedly lurching from heavenly choral harmonies, or the poetic cadence of barb-laden riffs, Ages is an auditory sojourn through the life cycle of a people and world. From its first flicker of creation to its inevitable decay and subsequent disintegration, Ages conjures a bittersweet amalgamation of hope and dispirited prostration.
In this interview, we speak with Mark at length about Ages and Dawnwalker’s tenured history. We touch on some of his obsessions that have fueled records in the past, as well as some current ones that may spill into the band’s forthcoming LP. There are many other details we uncover and explore in our block of time with Mark, but I will refrain from divulging further here. That being said, thank you all so much for tuning in; we sincerely appreciate it. And thank you for any support you can provide Dawnwalker.
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You can support Dawnwalker by perusing Ages within the embedded link above, or by visiting their Bandcamp page. There, you can check out all of their past releases, and acquire some physical merch if that strikes your fancy (they recently dropped a new “Moon Dial” longsleeve and t-shirt). Mark also plays guitar in the band Sacred Son, so if you’re keen on checking his work in the project, you can do so at their Bandcamp page.
If you’d like to support us beyond listening to our podcast, you can do so by becoming a patron on our Patreon page where you can read all of the notes we typed in preparation for album reviews and gain early access to upcoming episodes before their official release. If Patreon isn’t your jam, we recently set up an FCU Venmo account (@From-Corners-Unknown) and a Ko-Fi account in case you want to support us via other channels.
In two week’s time, we’ll be dropping an album review of MouthBreather’s I’m Sorry Mr. Salesman, a gnarled heavy hardcore opus rife with deranged atonal frequencies. Take care until then!
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