Holy Fawn Lean Into Acceptance with “Dimensional Bleed”

Alexander Rieth takes us track by track through the Arizona-based post-metal band’s sophomore album.
Track by Track

Holy Fawn Lean Into Acceptance with Dimensional Bleed

Alexander Rieth takes us track by track through the Arizona-based post-metal band’s sophomore album.

Words: Mike LeSuer

Photo: Matt Cardinal

September 09, 2022

With their 2018 debut Death Spells, Holy Fawn managed to perfect a unique sonic formula loosely leaning on post-rock, shoegaze, and metal to express an infinitely vaster realm of lyrical themes—ideas which I guess you could say fall into the “metal” influence, though they’re made considerably more discernible through Ryan Osterman’s nearly whispered delivery between crashing instrumental peaks. Little has changed sonically for the band since then, with their sophomore release Dimensional Bleed arriving in the wake of their 2020 Black Moon EP, with both releases pushing the dramatic atmospherics further while lyrically diving deeper into existentialist concepts.

Case in point, the first single revealed ahead of the album announce was titled “Death Is a Relief,” a crushing—musically and lyrically—speculation on our inevitable end told through a tidal wave of guitars and screamo vocals on the chorus. But Dimensional Bleed mostly lacks the morbidity of its metal roots, rather proving to be an album about coping with death and learning to accept it as a fact of life. In doing so it ping-pongs back and forth between the noisy depths of turbulent grief and soft, falsetto-lined euphoria, weaving together a tapestry of songs that isn’t afraid to prod too deep—or, after moments of such intensity, to allow itself the space to breath.

With the record out today via Wax Bodega, bassist Alexander Reith took us track by track through the release to expand upon some of the project’s themes. Stream Dimensional Bleed and read his thoughts below.

1. “Hexsewn”

Dimensional Bleed begins with a simple chant that eventually becomes the central lyrical motif for the record. This mantra is repeated again in the finale and was a means to convey that time is cyclical and all things return at some point. The album explores a concept of how different our lives could have been, and hoping that our experiences are not the only interactions that occur in our existence.

2. “Death Is a Relief”

After “Hexsewn,” the album dives right into “Relief,” which ended up being the first single we released. We’re truly proud of how this song came out and we felt it really gets your blood flowing. It just feels like the record starts to truly come alive here compared to how stripped and reserved the previous track is. To put it simply, the concept of life and death and our mortality is a natural occurrence. While it’s something unknown, we should not allow a lack of knowledge to manifest into fear. On the contrary, it could be something you can embrace.

3. “Lift Your Head”

This is definitely a personal favorite of everyone in the band, and one of the first songs we actually composed for the record. I think a lot of people will hear this and think back to our first album, Death Spells, and it’s a nice way to tie together our past sounds with our present. 

4. “Empty Vials”

To put it simply, this song is about restraint. In life, we find ourselves in many situations where we lack control or autonomy, which can very quickly pivot to anxiety. Here, we just wanted to let the anticipation build and let the atmosphere grow until we reached a proper climax. Just a massive way to shed audio anxiety. We are very much looking forward to playing this one in the future.

5. “Amaranthine”

This song is just a soft, delicate palate cleanser. We feel it’s really important to have a sense of dynamics across our music. When we first started as a band, we had a hard time specifically pinning down our “genre,” so we just started to call ourselves “loud, heavy, pretty noises” and this song really leans into the latter. It really lulls you into a sense of security and makes you feel safe, especially after how the previous track boils over. Sequencing was something we were very conscious of when we recorded Dimensional Bleed, and this song just feels right here. Also, Austin [Reinholz] had a lot of fun on the vocal production for this track.

6. “Dimensional Bleed”

A short and quick punch to the throat. If the record is about peaks and valleys, this is the rollercoaster hitting the top and having you hold your breath before you plummet straight down. If we’re being completely honest, this song started out as a goof—but everyone loved it, so here it lives. 

7. “Sightless”

I feel this song in particular is going to become a fan favorite. It’s definitely one of the more playful and unique songs on the album. It really showcases a lot of movement through emotions, and at times sounds almost optimistic. Just a reminder that after all the previous chaos, there could be hope at any corner.

8. “Void of Light”

Speaking of hope on the previous track, this song doesn’t let you ground yourself too much and really takes that optimism away. Everything is as it should be, the pieces fall where they may, and death is an inevitable occurrence. This song cements that emotion and really leans into the more bleak sounds we like to create.

9. “True Loss”

This song, much like “Lift Your Head,” is another song that was created [much earlier] in the process. It’s actually a reimagining of a B-side that existed momentarily called “Dim,” but we never felt it got the proper attention it deserved. It's the final touch of comfort—though death is inevitable, it serves its purpose and should be embraced.

10. “Blood Memory”

Finally, we arrive right back where we started. Our cyclical path returns to the beginning, the ouroboros continues its journey, and we come back with a newfound sense of contempt, anger, acceptance, and injustice. The order of life flows forever in its valley and nothing can change it. Accept it, and live with grace.