Martin : Shape-shifters Beyond Dawn from Norway have become something of an avantgarde metal institution over the years. With that in mind it is entirely plausible to some people are eagerly anticipating new material from this band, so let's be clear about one thing to begin with: this is not a new Beyond Dawn album. Instead, 'Bygones' is the first of a series of releases that will document the band's career and as such it is something of a historical document.
This in itself makes 'Bygones' less suitable for people who want to familiarize themselves with Beyond Dawn, but longstanding fans should be very pleased to discover that this release features a number of very early recordings that have been unavailable for a long time, ranging from 1991-1994. The work on 'Bygones' is presented in reverse chronological order, starting with 1994's 'Longing For Scarlet Days' EP and ending with the 'Heaven's Dark Reflection' demo from 1991. Over the course of these three years Beyond Dawn's early, primitive black/ death metal has morphed into something way more unconventional that, although heavily influenced by Celtic Frost's 'Into The Pandemonium', was very original at the time.
Of course the production and the musicianship on these old recordings are not of today's standard, and especially the very first recordings are so crude that it is occasionally challenging to listen to. While those recordings, the unreleased rehearsal track 'Glass Desert' in particular, have mainly historical value and should predominantly appeal to completists, the more recent material has withstood the test of time exceptionally well. Especially the 'Longing For Scarlet Days' songs are still fresh and sound very much unlike anything else. These are also the first recordings that hint at Beyond Dawn's future endeavours. Given how far Beyond Dawn have strayed from their embryonic form 'Bygones' can hardly be recommended for people set to discover this band, but those interested in how this exact evolution has happened should be in for a treat with this release.