Fathomage – Autumn’s Dawn, Winter’s Darkness


Atmospheric black metal in all its glory and majesty fills Autumn’s Dawn, Winter’s Darkness in the new full length from Fathomage

Akul who handles all aspects of Fathomage hails from Adelaide, Australia and has been quite prolific as an artist releasing  7 Fathomage albums in 5 years.   From an artistic standpoint, Akul looks to present his Eastern Orthodox faith with allusions to Orthodoxy through imagery, lyrics and ascetics, while keeping Fathomage as an experimental band at its core and this can be seen in the previous releases of which there are 10 if you include another project called Gelure (dungeon synth/ambient).  From a lyrical content, the goal is to present the listener with a chance to do some of their own interpretation and Akul avoids concrete explanations of his lyrics in interviews.  This is truly a solo project in every sense with all aspects of the performances and recording, mixing and mastering being done by Akul.

As can often be the case, the band logo gave some fairly large hints as to what I was going to hear on Autumn’s Dawn, Winter’s Darkness and the album cover using the beautiful fall landscape, Multnomah Falls by Albert Beirstad, turns out to be perfect for the album.  For those new to atmospheric black metal, the first track which is also the title track, is a great introduction. Keyboards set an overall mood and backdrop with a fairly long intro before drums and guttural screaming punctuate the relative calm.  The vocals are the black metal screaming, near shriek variety and are toned down a bit within the mix.  The song has some of the droning black metal guitar riffs but within the overall mix, they convey a sense of melody while the drumming avoids blast beats and adds a good low end rumbling power to much of the song.  Partway through there is a shift as the keyboards fade further to the background and the guitars become more prominent in a driving riff.  I can’t help but hear bands like Antestor in the overall music and the acoustic guitar interlude serves to highlight the strength in the music and being able to follow that melody as the song reverts back to the full metal approach highlights the songcraft at player here.  There are many levels in the soundscape.

“A Dawnfire of Old” again plays up the multiple layered sound approach with the black metal providing the sonic backdrop for a softer keyboard melody.  Here the contrasting use of silence and multiple keyboard and orchestral parts coming into play add a serene beauty especially fitting for fall forest scenes like portrayed on the cover.  Being able to hear and follow the various layers of sound within the song is one of the aspects of this recording that I really enjoyed. Depending on your focus, you could be following multiple parts separately within the song and may hear different things with each listen.

“The Majesty and Beauty of a Fallen World” opens from the beginning with the guitars and drums driving things along in contrast to the opening of previous tracks.  Here again though the multiple different layers of sound play a role with the keyboards almost lending a clean vocal like quality contrasting to the screamed black metal vocals and adding a brighter tone and feel to the track.  The song picks up some power from a combination of heavier, crunchy, guitar riffs and a pounding drum beat that ends up shifting into a higher speed section that is equally driving.  Being over 10 minutes in length does provide a lot of space and time for the song to become a journey and that is where it goes.

“In the Twilight of the Night” and “Woodland Songs of the Aspen Forest”, Fathomage present a couple acoustic guitar driven tracks that give the listener a chance to relax and simply enjoy without trying to interpret the multiple layers of sound present in the other tracks on the album.  Each does have multiple parts to the overall sound but there is that underlying interplay between the music and silence that is easy to feel and enjoy but difficult to describe.

“We Wept Under the Moonlight Shadow” closes out the album in epic fashion being nearly 15 minutes long.  The opening is the mid-tempo black metal with multiple layers and parts and a guitar line accompanying the vocals over the baseline melody before the quietness of the acoustic guitars take over along with some clean choral like vocals once the drums and bass come in to lend support to the acoustic guitar.  This builds until a heavy riff comes in to take over and lead the next section of the song, which picks up a bit of galloping groove to it carried along nicely by the drums.  The song twists and turns from acoustic to metal with the clean choral vocals coming back and being acapella for a while.  Through it all the main guitar parts being acoustic or not are simply very catchy.

In Autumn’s Dawn, Winter’s Darkness, Fathomage have manage to create one of the best atmospheric black metal albums I have heard.  Musicianship, arrangements, and production all work together to create multi-layered soundscapes that can take the listener on a seemingly different journey with every listen.

Rating: 10/10

Written by John Jackson


  1. Autumn’s Dawn, Winter’s Darkness
  2. A Dawnfire of Old
  3. The Majesty and Beauty of a Fallen World
  4. In the Twilight of the Night
  5. Vales of Darkness
  6. Light of the Eternal Dawn
  7. Woodland Songs of the Aspen Forest
  8. We Wept Under the Moonlight Shadow

Band Member
Akul – all instruments

Release Date: March 10, 2023

Record Label: Northern Silence Productions

Social media: Facebook / Bandcamp / Spotify

Video – full album:

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