Modern heavy metal has been saturated. All this “technical progressive jazz fusion avant-garde blackened death metal” stuff is flying out by the boatload. Bands like Obscura, Aborted, Decrepit Birth, Origin, Decapitated, and Fleshgod Apocalypse have been blowing us away with their technical prowess for a solid couple decades now. Admittedly, I love all of those bands listed. However, after all this time spent listening to nothing but 300 BPM blast beats and sweep picked solos (and sometimes riffs), I feel a little shackled down and burdened whenever I listen to the newest release from any band that plays this style of music. You’ve got to admit you feel that way too, no?
But be shackled no more! Feel that burden lift from your shoulders! Who is it that has come to our rescue? Which savior picks us up from the depths and brings us back to an era of metal when the music’s main focus was to make you pump your fist in the air and bang your fucking head off?
Dawnbringer, of course.
Now, I’ve got to say that I first heard of Dawnbringer just less than a month ago. I haven’t listened to anything in their catalogue save for their newest opus: Into the Lair of the Sun God. The thing is, I only needed to hear Into the Lair of the Sun God to transform me into a fan.
This album lets technicality step out of the spotlight. Seriously. The riffs here are simple enough that a decent guitarist could probably learn the whole album in a day. But the simplicity doesn’t take anything away from Sun God. The simplicity of the riffs and melodies just makes the delivery that much more powerful.
Dawnbringer have blended stoner metal and new wave of British heavy metal (mostly NWoBHM) into something that’s just pure God damn metal. All nine songs on this album are powerful and punchy with harmonized guitar leads coming out the wazoo, a lá Iron Maiden. Mixed in with this 80s throwback are the stoner-style rhythm riffs and vocals that when put together conjure up images of four or five sweaty dudes in black t-shirts and denim vests rocking the fuck out and just playing their hearts out.
Although Dawnbringer blend two old styles of music, everything still sounds fresh. The guitar playing is superb, the drumming keeps pushing everything forwards smoothly, and the vocals are just perfect. I can’t tell you why I like them so much, I just do. They piece everything together so perfectly that it becomes something totally new in itself.You can really hear a D.I.Y. atmosphere too. Production on Sun God gives a real warm feel to everything. If you crank it and close your eyes, it feels and sounds like they’re performing right in front of you.
One last thing to point out is this album is a concept album. Into the Lair of the Sun God -- if you couldn’t tell -- is about being a badass motherfucker and slaying a God on his own turf. Sweet, eh? I won’t spoil anything for anyone, but there’s a fan-fucking-tastic ending.
Since this is a concept album, logically you should listen to all the songs in order in one go for maximum awesome. However, If I have to pick three songs:
II: The second track, appropriately titled “II” (yeah, all the songs are named by roman numerals) is a thrasher. The riffs come above all on this track, with the instrumental bridge containing some of the most headbangable riffs I’ve heard in a while.
V: What’s this? Almost a power ballad? Yeah. Yeah it is. And it fucking rules.
IX: The final song on Sun God,while not the most musically outstanding song on the album, has the big finale of the story. Also, fun Easter egg (or maybe I’m just crazy) but if you start the album over again when “IX” finishes, the intro of “I” seems to match up so perfectly.
On a Playlist With:Sleep (Holy Mountain), Valient Thorr, (Early) Iron Maiden
This album is phenomenal. It might just be that I found it so refreshing at this moment in time that I loved it so much, but I think this album will stand the test of time. If you’re a fan of any type of rock or metal, pick this sucker up. It’s well worth your time and money.