Stefan Traunmüller made the foundation for his musical works with GOLDEN DAWN and their debut "The Art Of Dreaming" in 1996 and he received lots of positive critics. Besides them, he also worked for some stylistically different projects (DAIMON, AURYN, APEIRON) to deal with his inventiveness. But after the end of Dark Matter Records, it was frightening silent around GOLDEN DAWN and all hope for a new record got smaller and smaller with every year. It is true that they worked on a second album, titled "Sublimity", but the financial problems of Sing Sang Records made them aborting it. But in 2002, the lucky message received us, that the multi musician from Großgmain near Salzburg now works for a successor and with Napalm Records, he encountered a first-class label.
Seven years after the success of "The Art Of Dreaming" the successor "Masquerade" is now available. While the debut had been more rapid Black Metal, the new songs offer a lot of another influences and so, the new album is much more diversified on the one hand and on the other hand it's more complex and time consuming than the prequel. It's more than one spin needed and a definitive categorization is also hard to do. Besides the still existing Black Metal sounds you can also find now classical Heavy Metal passages as well as Gothic and Folk parts. Altogether the new material sounds pretty modern and should not only appeal to Die-Hard Black Metal fans but enthral also people beyond the total grazed Black Metal genre.
Despite the, of course, better production of "Masquerade", compared with the debut, it gets the worst of it. The effort with the new tracks was doubtlessly higher than the recording of "The Art Of Dreaming" but that can't help collect more plus points to surpass the debut. The debut was more original and vastly more evil than the songs on "Masquerade". Of course, this is a very subjective opinion, because GOLDEN DAWN are anything other than mediocre and "Masquerade" is well-thought out from the beginning to the end. But it can't be denied, that you are always compared with your past works and so, I have no other choice than to prefer the debut.
The step to more openness in the music should get fans more interested and this album deserves it. Moreover you can't go back in time and the often demanded development of GOLDEN DAWN happened in different ways. So, just hope that we don't have to wait seven years again for another sign of live. (Online July 7, 2003)