Review: Dawn Ahead “Fallen Anthems” [Art Gates Records]

Review: Dawn Ahead “Fallen Anthems” [Art Gates Records]

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The debut full-length album “Fallen Anthems” from German band Dawn Ahead was released this spring by Art Gates Records, known for loyal attitude for all the modern metal movements among other things. This time their attempts to modernize their impressive list of signed bands pays off pretty well, because the core of the music of Dawn Ahead is rather based on alternative metal.

“Fallen Anthems” is the first principal creation for these Germans during ten years of existence; before that there were a couple of EPs, resulting in the deal with Spanish Art Gates. Their music isn’t followed by strict rules or filled with indigestible experimentation; the modern aura entwines this traditional heavy/thrash metal, making it oddly ambiguous in its nature – old school and contemporary at the same time. And this combination of the stylistic generations doesn’t sound smoothly all the same, so these modern additions occasionally disrupt the integrity of structural temper.

Generally, the songs on this album have pretty steady plan – thrashy verses vs. modern choruses, though thrash foundation covers only half of the songs. The heaviest and deadliest tracks are full of thrash spirit and death metal heaviness (“All I have to do” or “Excess”), forming classical attitude without modern touches. These alt. metal manifestations also aren’t too repetitive or systematic, varying from southern hardcore influence (“Among the Blind”) to nu metal (“Anthem of the Fallen”). The main accent explicitly shows their love for alternative rock/metal prime examples of the previous century, when it was on its peak.

The heavy metal riffs, technical solos and juicy low guitars hint on their classical hard rock roots, but all this traditionalism loses its vigorous joy under the groove and hardcore hustle, periodically transforming into lighter version of alternative rock/pop rock. These pop rock elements lead the choruses, and sometimes with thrash/death metal verses this contrast is really astonishing (like in “I command”). The singer’s abilities also characterize the momentum of stylistic mood – smoky clean voice versus harsh screams and low growls. The longest “Summon the Black” provides with some sort of diversity – acoustic psychedelic intro, over-emotional singing, catchy melodies and sharp stylistic mood changes. And “Shot at Dawn” also teases mysteriously with acoustic melancholy and substantial amount of alternative softness.

Dawn Ahead have genuinely tried to show the world the fusion of contemporary alt. music with speed/traditional metal heaviness, however sometimes this blend sounds too raggedly and messy, losing the continuity of harmony. But still, these Germans play their music loudly and mischievously, so the sincerity of this release and attempts to embrace such complicated musical integrity really yields results.

Release date: March 19th, 2021

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