A specter lurking in the Australian necrosphere has revived its shadowy presence from the 90’s, and after conjuring Marble Nights of Ecstacy amid 2020’s accursed era, DREAM UPON TOMBS now follows that EP with a first full drift through sepulchral edifices. The likeness of past haunts is easily recognized on Palaces of Dust, where such imposing architectural forms are evoked across the melodic despair encircling its riff abysses, and other instrumental shades complement the dreary but grand developments within their forgotten halls. A mist-shrouded enchantment matches the grim aspects of gothic incarnated by DREAM UPON TOMBS, which elevates this manifestation notably among moonlit realms.
Forlorn entities proceed in the arpeggiated and tremolo exhumation of “The Call,” and a certain medieval solemnity is reflected by various noted patterns, which unfold across the steady distinction of rhythms escalating toward upheaval. Those shifts in pace coincide effectively with the evolving melodies, and ravaging vocals compound the blasts during a heightened evocation that continues on “Hollows Eve,” after deep string effects resonate within the ancient corridors of its intro. Heavy riffing soon takes prominence, and rapid fretted shapes enhance the groove headed into blast-beaten and double bass alterations. The funereal tone of organs is faintly discerned among these passages, and a lead emerging at their peak harmonizes hauntingly with the flow of heavier currents. A gloomy-stringed calm surrounds the elemental gathering on “The Ghost of Dawn,” with some relatively upbeat melodic forms giving contrast to its dismal overtones, and a grand conjuring is sustained as they match the purposeful advance of different riff and rhythmic dynamics. Andrea Meyer, who was senselessly killed alongside four others during an attack in 2021, is memorialized through the atmospheric immersion of “Twilight, A Silent Farewell,” and its torment from piano keys combined with violins offers an honorable tribute to this influential artist.
The last contemplative moment drifts mournfully into a clean-noted extension beginning “On the Shores of the Brave,” and it progresses with layers of complex melodic enchantment interwoven across the percussive arsenal, including a dominant stride that rocks mightily toward the slower dirge of “Carrion Dreams.” The distinct character of DREAM UPON TOMBS is exemplified in ambience howling cavernously from beneath its arpeggiated trance, and quickened pulses soon parallel the dexterity of other fretted designs, which oscillate above and below with excursive points fusing an unpredictability to the melody. This quality proliferates at multiple riffing levels on “Twins of Evil,” and their epic collective is heightened further by areas of rhythmic emphasis and blasting surges, along with bleak distorted intervals rising among the details. These eminent arrangements dissipate through keys and thunderous beats, and desolate winds also enrich the atmosphere before reaching a full instrumental break on “The Absent Guests.” Its forsaken realms are followed with “Of the Mist,” where heavy structures reinforce the evocative tremolos coursing throughout, and wrath accompanies the melodies for a final glorious act that ultimately fades back to unseen planes.
Several dark spirits are encountered in the tales surrounding these hymns, and the first appears when “The Call” is answered by one “Lost within this desolate place,” which sets a dismal atmospheric tone with impressions of wallowing somewhere in the nether regions. The influences from other “Bewitching desires” lead into their depths, and “Through the gates of Hell” is where “Hollows Eve” arrives as the domain of Death, whose features are grimly portrayed in “Rose, bones, and bloodied steel.” His wrath is witnessed along with a continuing presence on “The Ghost of Dawn,” where “The grace of god remains unseen” brings an irreligious perspective to its “Gloomy streets,” and a female being also lurks here with a “Chilling kiss” and “Eyes of fire.” Her identity is revealed through “Tamora smiles, the coffin creaks,” with that name possibly alluding to a Shakespearean character, and Death returns to collect his due amid the battle waged “On the Shores of the Brave.” Scenes of carnage unfold while the warriors revel “In chilling rage and blood,” and an aftermath of “Cursed time repeating, spirits are renewed” recalls ideas of death and rebirth before the end leaves behind questions of valor.
Hadean realms are traversed on “Carrion Dreams,” after paying “Charon’s price, his mortal fee,” and the presence of this mythological ferryman enlivens the underworld while portraying it as a place “Where souls are lost and cursed to freeze…” The feminine likeness of an “Icy queen” is also encountered here, along with those weak and empty spirits who remain “Chained at her feet,” and gloomy areas are favored in this “Kingdom of the lost” when “Elysium I leave in ruins, My wickedness exult Tartarus!” The overarching atmosphere wouldn’t be complete without a vampiric feature, and it appears on “Twins of Evil” through “Karnstein’s keep” and “Mircalla’s soul reborn,” which reference the early Gothic novella titled Carmilla. Its essence is captured on the “Crimson paths” and “Tortured lustful haze” leading to “One final sunset tragedy,” and “Of the Mist” summons the malevolence and woe to advance that effect. Its depictions of “Unhallowed gallows beckoning” with a “Corpse that walks beneath” heighten the grimness, and an “Ancient terror creeps” until “Empty coldness glares” to conclude these captivating verses.
Upon my initial discovery, everything down to the name of DREAM UPON TOMBS suggested a distinctly spectral and deathly atmospheric identity, and the allure anticipated from those qualities is fulfilled on Palaces of Dust through instrumental passages laden with mystique. Rhythms are certainly vital to the forces harnessed throughout, and the percussive influences become paralleled in riffs possessing a myriad of intricate forms. Their melodies are central to many potent evocations, which aptly reflect tenebrosity laced with a graveside splendor, and elements shift with fierce vocals to exercise a capably vicious nature. The shadow cast by Palaces of Dust seizes a formidable status for DREAM UPON TOMBS, and spellbinding ventures await those drawn toward its ancient ruinous structures.