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Review: Dark At Dawn - Dark at Dawn
Dark At Dawn
Dark at Dawn

Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2006
Duration: 45:00
Tracks: 11
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: March 4, 2008
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Readers Rating
Dark at Dawn

Rated 4.38/5 (87.69%) (13 Votes)

Do you like old Jag Panzer? Liege Lord? Accept? Running Wild? If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, then I would strongly advise upon picking up Dark at Dawn. This self-titled release was the most recent from resident German war machine Dark at Dawn, and also sadly their last. For those familiar with their crunchy, riff-tastic style of Power Metal, let me just assure you that little has changed, stylistically, from the excellent Of Decay and Desire in 2003. It's actually really frustrating to try and write a review for an album like this, since it's so simplistic and straightforward that there's not a whole I can say that wouldn't be a paraphrased version of "This rules, go get it!"

I think the songs here are a tad more simplistic than the ones on the last album, though, lacking most of the Savatage comparisons I mentioned in my review for that one, but just a tad. There's no huge decline in songwriting power, but this album is a lot more stomp-stomp and "Metal" without the overall classy songwriting finesse that Of Decay and Desire boasted. The focus is more on the guitars than the vocals here, and oh boy do the riffs on Dark at Dawn fucking slay. Seriously, if you're a connoisseur of Metal riffs, then give this album a spin and be in Heaven. The guitar tone is razor-sharp, like a buzzsaw slicing into your bowels, while Buddy Kohlrausch's deep bellow narrates the apocalypse all around your bloodied form. Perhaps all that is hyperbole, but if you want an album that will kick your ass without a second thought, THIS IS IT. I think this is the style Dark at Dawn were shooting for all along, and while I don't like it quite as much as the magical combination of musical elements present on the previous album, I can't deny the majesty of this one.

I do have one minor complaint, though, and it's about the ballads here. Dark at Dawn have always written excellent ballads, as is shown on songs like "Dragon Tears," "Across the Oceans of Time" and "Rose of Tears." on previous albums, but the ones on this album fall flat. I'd say it's due to the slightly rawer guitar tone, but even then, I've heard bands who can write damn fine ballads with sharper and more coarse guitar tones than this one, so it's puzzling. Don't get me wrong, "Avalon" and "The Passage" are good songs, but lackluster when coming from a band that usually writes ballads of such high caliber. Disappointing.

For standout tracks, opener "The Alliance" is undeniably the best song Dark at Dawn ever wrote. It's barely even 3 minutes long, but it packs enough power to topple the Statue of Liberty, with a stomping, head-smashing main riff and a triumphant shout-along chorus which, unless you're a total poser, will get your head flailing and your fist in the air before you even realize what happened. "Crossbreed" and "Fearless" are two more head-stompers, and "Sons of the Sea" is a mini epic in its own right that is worth the time it takes to grow on you. Most of the rest of the songs here are great too, but like every Dark at Dawn album, there are a few fillers. I suppose no band can avoid that pitfall.

Overall, this is another very strong effort from Dark at Dawn, and it is probably their last (they're supposedly "on hold" right now). It's a damned shame when good bands like this fizzle out into nothing while joke bands like Metalium and Rhapsody continue to take the spotlight. Hell, though, better to stop making music after 4 quality albums than to keep going and eventually sell out or weaken in style. Farewell, Dark at Dawn.

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