If you’re not familiar with Holy Fawn, they’re a band that should be listened to in solitude. Darkness. Urban deprivation. Preferably, all of the above. Their music is a poetic blend of shoegaze, post-rock, and black metal. In their own words, Holy Fawn makes loud, heavy, pretty noises, and their new album, Dimensional Bleed, released last month, is no exception to that rule.
There are a handful of songs on this album worthy of adulation and pedestal, but “Empty Vials” paints their most beautiful landscape of pain and rebirth with constellations and incisors. The song is a gateway. Complete this guided meditation and walk through the gateway. A higher plane beyond the realm of your understanding awaits.
Become one with the infinite. Embrace demise while admiring the curse of consciousness.
Put on a pair of warm socks and sturdy shoes. Empty your pockets of all contents.
Walk into the nearest woods and do not stop until you come across a star-filled night sky far from other human beingFind this exact place--wherever it may be. Once there, settle beneath a barren tree and drown out the chatter of small mice and the clacking of horns in the distance by taking a deep breath in. Listen only to the sound of your breath.
Continue breathing in slowly through your nose and out through your mouth.
Try to quiet your mind. At first, the throngs of your old life will occupy your thoughts. Those fears, those old modes will rattle the cages.
Let them go.
Abandon your accomplishments. Release your regrets and lovers. Relinquish the realm of understanding. Let your thoughts just come and go. There’s no need to focus on what’s real or what’s stirring in the bushes on the ridge above you.
Breathe in and out. Feel the soil beneath your body as you press your palms down into it. A chill is climbing your spine. Embrace it as the cold embraces you.
And just sit with this feeling of connection. Relax and sink into the bark of the tree behind you.
Breathe in through your nose. Out through your mouth.
Your breath is steady and strong now. Slowly open your eyes; you’ll notice the rolling brown hills of a nearly-barren forest. Ignore the murmurs of the feral guild in the distance. Let those sounds come and go. Focus on your breath.
Look down and notice the tufts of moss sprouting on your forearms and clusters of pink oyster mushrooms protruding from what was once your elbow. Despite these changes, do not panic. Take a deep breath in.
You feel the cold now less as a discomfort and as more of a fact. An objective reality of existing. Frost fills the imperfections in your ribcage. Your sternum softly cracks as your chest expands.
Observe the sky above you and how each of the stars has a pinkish hue now. You’re seeing them as they truly are for the first time.
Exhale slowly and notice that now the brush around you is alive and teeming with life. You feel a nearby stream’s current running over your clavicle.
Without looking away from the sky, you know she’s coming toward you.
Take another deep breath in and feel your belly fill up. Hold it there a moment and notice that the stars are beginning to move. They, too, heave with the galaxy’s heartbeat. Permit yourself to see the world as it is.
Your silence has become tranquil.
Breathe out and close your eyes again. Lower your gaze and try to see the creature without using your eyes. There are many ways to see a thing, and your eyes are only one of them. As she strides into the clearing, seek to distinguish the creature’s antlers from the surrounding branches with your mind. Notice how many sharp points protrude from her skull. Observe how they make you feel. Are you afraid? Or curious? Or is there something else?
Continue breathing in and out. Focus intently on the sound of your breath for as long as you can draw it. The creature stands before you. In the darkness, you feel its gaze and make out the thick black hooves. Inhale, hold your breath for a count of 8, and let the animal in. It’s knocking on the door of your mind.
She will enter forcefully if you do not offer your hospitality. Exhale slowly–making a whooshing sound with your breath.
Open your eyes as well as your senses. The smell of blood and decay is heavy in the air. The smell of death is also the smell of life. Breathe it in and out slowly and evenly.
The animal before you is looking down its scarred muzzle at a shell. A husk. She’s inside you now, and you feel an unimaginable fire in your veins. Six eyes unblinking, she’s sifting through you. Focus on breathing as she excavates your subconscious. Under no circumstances should you scream.
The cold has graciously numbed you. Nature’s anesthesia. The physical pain is insignificant compared to the anger and shame she’s floating to the surface. Just let those thoughts come and go. Compartmentalize the anguish and raw honesty this remarkable animal provides. Did you live a moral life? Did anyone know who you actually are? Were you ever there for the people you love in times of crisis?
Breathe in and hold it until you’re told to let go.
No one will miss you when you don’t show up to work tomorrow. You are a replaceable cog in a terminally-ill machine. Accept your nothingness and the bits of sharpened bone sinking into your belly. The gore warms your legs and feet. Moss and cloth, antler and intestine. Future compost. Swirling together.
You no longer need to breathe out. Your memory mine and veins have collapsed.
As your body is lifted off the forest floor, feel the weight of your hips and legs pull your body down. Bits of antler enter your lung and snap your ribs from inside.
As the creature guides your body across the clearing, look up at the stars and realize they’re a color you've never seen before. A color you didn’t know existed. A color you could only describe with a well-cooked meal or a long, passionate kiss.
Close your eyes as she guides you down. There are still many more ways to see a thing than your eyes. Close them and push yourself towards the stars. Before you go too far, stop and observe the creature’s scarred body as she walks away from the mound of fertilizer at the base of a young tree.
Dimensional Bleed is available for sale now on vinyl and CD via Wax Bodega, and digitally on Bandcamp.
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