Dimensional Bleed, the new album from Arizona’s Holy Fawn, out now via Wax Bodega, is majestic. Across its sometimes lengthy tracks (three land near seven minutes), Dimensional Bleed delivers expansive metal blended with shoegaze sensibilities and textured to suggest something dramatically consuming.
“We want it to feel big and as otherworldly as possible in the sense of, when you’re listening to it, it doesn’t sound like you’re just listening to a rock record,” guitarist Evan Phelps shares. “We want it to feel like its own environment in itself. We focused very heavily on that cinematic type, or soundtrack-esque type, of sound stage. I listen to a lot of classical or movie soundtracks and stuff like that. And I think it’s very powerful when you have that whole orchestra with upwards of 100 people playing just one piece and how big it can sound. And it’s like, well, four people with Pro Tools and multitrack recording, we could kind of emulate that in our own way. And so I think we definitely take some inspiration from that kind of orchestral, wall-of-sound stuff, to ’80’s, Blade Runner-type soundtracks and stuff like that.”
Dimensional Bleed is grippingly forceful, yet contemplative, as Holy Fawn often utilize slower tempos. When the pace quickens, it evokes an image of collapsing to the ground in unrest. The spirit of the post-rock or post-metal crescendo, as expressed at standout moments on Dimensional Bleed, drive listeners into pained enlightenment.
As its title suggests, the album deals with existentially oriented themes.
“I think that we all do believe to a certain extent that there are things out there that we can’t perceive or are just unknown to us as of yet,” Phelps says. “And so in the writing of this record, that is a big part of the theme. I mean the record’s called Dimensional Bleed. And so, what does that mean? It means, well, we’re not the only dimension in this certain realm of existence. And sometimes, there may be events where those two dimensions have a crossover point or bleed into each other. And maybe that explains a lot of crazy things such as UFOs or even déjà vu or things that seem too coincidental to be anything but fate necessarily.
I don’t think we believe that there’s a higher power sitting up there judging us in the sky, which there may be, who knows. But I think what we take from it is that, as humans, we think we’re so intelligent and that we know everything, but in the grand scheme of things, we’re not much farther ahead than any other animal.”
On the three-dimensional level, the band control a lot of the production process themselves. Dimensional Bleed was entirely recorded by Holy Fawn.
“We need the time to take and to really focus and make sure everything we’re putting in there isn’t rushed or we’re not feeling a ton of push from other people on our team or anything like that,” Phelps explains. “So it would be nice to go into a really beautiful studio with amazing gear and have time to make a record that way. But I think as far as our band operates, we need to just kind of do it on our own and have as much time as we need to make sure what we’re putting out is exactly what we want to put out.”
Alongside the heaviness, Holy Fawn wanted to cultivate space for reflection.
“I think we all believe that space on a record is just as important as a big, heavy part,” Phelps shares. “And so we try to incorporate as many dynamics into our music as possible because we don’t want just one song to just be a wall of fuzz for five or six minutes. There needed to be a lot of moments for the record to breathe. Just so the listener could take a step back and maybe digest what they have just gone through before they go into the next chapter of the song or record.”
Holy Fawn ultimately perform with far-reaching ambition. Dimensional Bleed pushes ever onward, and the enveloping, wall-of-sound-style instrumentation leaves little room for anything else—a comfort in the safety of the deep, inner understanding it communicates. It’s a spiritual weighted blanket. “It’s fun to believe in other things out there because it makes the world seem like a more magical place,” Phelps observes.
Photo courtesy of Viviana Jackelin