Have you ever started to doze off and they suddenly jerked yourself awake? Then you started dozing again and jerked awake again? Maybe you were in church? Maybe at work? Maybe watching one of those lame "reality TV" shows? Well, listening to this Old Path CD is kinda the same thing. But the thing is, whether your dozing or waking up it's not a bad thing. Let me explain...
The front cover of this album says it all. A dark mountain enveloped in trees with fog settling down creates an eerie atmosphere that is conveyed in the music within. Old Path's debut The Coming of Eternal Dawn takes you on a journey that places you right in the middle of that snowy forest on that very fog-covered mountaintop. A mixture of black metal and dark ambient create what lone member Hiram Lohr labels "ancient black metal". The mood shifts back and forth from black to ambient, with some songs being completely ambient. The ambient songs are perfect for soothing yourself to sleep (although I enjoy staying awake since this is some pretty good stuff). But then you are jerked awake by the black metal that starts up amidst the calming sounds.
The vocals range from horrifying black shrieks to spoken passages, to whispers, to even some chanting. Production is decent with the main annoyance being the fake wolf howls and the use of a drum machine. That's the one thing that bugs me. The dark feel of the album is very convincing for the most part, but the fake wolf howls are just plain bad. Although, I'm not sure real wolf howls would have been welcomed either.
Overall, an interesting experience that is very grim and very dark. This is not a band ready to take over the world, but I really like the direction they are heading. Here's hoping for real drums, much better production, and an even darker feel next time around. It'd also be nice to have some lyrics in the booklet and song titles on the back of the CD case. (Review by Matt)