The story of Beyond Dawn started at Kolbotn, a small residential area outside of Oslo, Norway, in 1990. Guitar player Petter Haavik and bassist/growler Tore Gjedrem had been playing together for some months in a band called Excremist, doing covers of hardcore and death metal bands as well as some self-composed material. When they heard that Einar Sjurso owned a twin bassdrum pedal they fired their drummer and offered Einar the job. He joined on the sole condition that they cover Sepultura's 'Inner Self', something they did (at least the first couple of riffs) on a local rock contest a couple of weeks later. The band was without a second guitar player for a while (former member Thor Arne Bergset had gone permanently AWOL), until Petter met Sindre Goksoyr at school who joined next. This became the first Beyond Dawn line-up. The moniker was invented during the recordings of the debut demo 'Tales From an Extinguished World', released late 1990. The tape, containing three tracks of generic doom/death metal was shipped off to a long list of underground publications, and response was fairly enthusiastic despite the recording's obvious shortcomings (it was made on a 4-track Tascam recorder in a kindergarten, Beyond Dawn's rehearsal place at the time, plus the band barely knew how to handle their instruments properly yet, let alone write decent songs). In early 1991, Beyond Dawn made their Oslo live debut at Elm Street, Oslo's no.1 metal spot, supporting Valhall. Brimming with confidence, they kept on rehearsing and writing new material until autumn 1991, when they went into a real studio to record their second demo. This was to be called 'Heaven's Dark Reflection' (taken from Neil Gaiman's 'Sandman' which was also the inspiration for several Beyond Dawn lyrics at the time), and the music was more developed than on the debut, although too technical for the band to play it well. Press was positive though, and soon the band had landed their first record deal on Adipocere Records.
In 1992, Sindre Goksoyr was let go (he later went on to form the industrial pop combo Piledriver and also played for a while with seminal Oslo rawkers Gluecifer), and Beyond Dawn found a replacement in Espen Ingierd. He was promptly "educated" in Death Metal, something he had little previous experience with, and in October the quartet entered Waterfall Studio to cut their first record. 'Up through the Linear Shades' was released on the French underground label Adipocere Recordsa the following spring. The 7" EP contained the band's most overtly technical song to date, 'Strained Down And Under' as well as a more psychedelic, atmospheric number called 'Bygone' featuring guest soprano vocals by Ane Hvesser. The cover was done by designer Are Kleivan, who incidentally was to be Sindre's partner-in-crime in Piledriver. The single was heralded a masterpiece in several publications and gained Beyond Dawn status as inventors of "Avantgarde Death Metal". To support the release on their home turf, they played a gig with Cadaver (now called Cadaver Inc.) at the Oslo-club Planet RockAll. Later that year they also gigged with Ulver and The 3rd And The Mortal, among others. In the fall, Beyond Dawn entered Creative Studios, where Mayhem and Darkthrone had previously recorded, to make another record for Adipocere. Released in April 1994, the MCD 'Longing for Scarlet Days' saw the band moving further into territories they had hinted at with last year's 'Bygone'. On two of the 4 tracks Espen debuted as lead vocalist, his baritone contrasting Tore's shrieks and growls. It also introduced the trombone, played by Dag Midbrod. This lended the band a distinct element to their sound and a gradual departure from metal had begun.
Simultaneously with the release of the MCD, Beyond Dawn recorded a three-track promotape titled 'Thorns in the Eye of the Chosen' (from a Hellhammer text) that quickly gained them a deal with England's Candlelight Records. At this point the band's musical diet had expanded tremendously and goth rock in particular was frequent fodder (they even covered the Sisters Of Mercy tune 'Alice' at a couple of concerts), and this became evident in the new material. The debut full-length cd 'Pity Love' saw the light of day in November 1995 and received rave reviews. At the time its combining of metallic influences and atmospheric music was considered something of a novelty. It was also the first BD release to include synths and a drum machine in addition to the real drums. The band held a release concert at a packed So What! in early December. Previously that year they had played shows with Red Harvest, Dunkelheit, Cybele and Paradigma among others.
During the spring / summer of 1996 Beyond Dawn started working on a new project. 6 songs performed almost entirely on acoustic instruments formed the basis of what would be the 'In Reverie' release. However, Candlelight proved reluctant to release it and the band suddenly found themselves on the search for a new label. Promotapes were made and shipped out, and after meddling with various labels for a good while, they were finally picked up by Misanthropy Records, another UK label. The 'In Reverie' sessions were shelved, recordings of a new album commenced at the house of Espen and Petter, and finally, in March 1998, almost two and a half years after its predecessor, 'Revelry' was released, the first to feature co-vocalist Kate Havnevik. Gone were almost all the metal elements, and the material was a lot more song-oriented than before. "Too many bands refuse to change, denying exploration in favor of the safety of convention, and if Beyond Dawn was as simple-minded, it would be nowhere near the provocation it currently is. The sound herein is the stuff of endless, compelling, addictive dreams. To reach for it is to entertain endless possibilities. Actually listening to it is yet something else", enthused Metal Maniacs. The band played one gig that year, a very well received release concert at Mars in Oslo.
In April, the 'In Reverie' sessions were finally released on the Italian label Eibon Records. The release also included two electronic reworkings of 'Revelry' tracks. When Misanthropy announced their departure, they hooked Beyond Dawn up with Peaceville, a long time cult label, famed for propelling acts like Darkthrone, Autopsy, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, and Anathema into underground stardom. August 1999 saw the release of 'Electric Sulking Machine', the band's most diverse work till then. It was recorded in Liverpool, where Petter attended the LIPA academy at the time. The song 'Pop ist Verboten' was actually done in Petter's bath-tub. The album features a host of guests, among others vocalists Kate Havnevik, and Lisa Ericsson of the band Schulte / Ericsson. It is also the first album without long time member Dag Midbrod, whose family obligations prevented him from going on with the band. "A dark yet deeply penetrative offering from Norwegian four-piece Beyond Dawn. 'Electric Sulking Machine' stalks the listener with its chilling atmospherics and sombre undertones. Alternating between dry minimalism and intense surging rock, Beyond Dawn use their instruments sparingly, but to startling effect, weaving intricate rhythms that Espen Ingierd's desolate vocals add contrast and suspense to" - Rock Sound Magazine.
In support of the album, Beyond Dawn played three gigs in Norway and performed twice on national television.
In January, Nocturnal Art Productions put out a "soundtrack" compilation to the successful Norwegian comic book Nemi, featuring all the favourite music of the cartoon character, including Mayhem, Lamented Souls, Red Harvest and several others. Beyond Dawn contributed 'Atmosphere'. After a warm-up gig in Oslo, Beyond Dawn finally made their live debut outside of Norway on the Peacefest tour in the UK, Holland and Belgium in March, alongside labelmates My Dying Bride, Katatonia, Thine and Soundisciples. The setlist included material culled from the latest 3 releases, in addition to several new songs; "It's startling just how much more visceral the Beyond Dawn live experience is compared to their lush warmth on disc; stripped of trombone and pulsing electronics, the laid-back, slinking 'Cigarette' became an exquisite crescendo of raw, roaring drone. Visual spectacle was provided by drummer Einar, his face a mask of concentration as he hunched over his relatively minuscule drum kit, dropping each beat neatly in place in his distinctive overemphatic style, bassist Tore, swinging himself and his instrument around in a sarcastic rock ballet, and frontman Espen wringing out every maudlin syllable with just the right blend of angst and cool. And they even had the nerve to suggest that they played badly. Bloody perfectionists" - Terrorizer Magazine