Released: 2010, Profound Lore
I don’t remember Dawnbringer being this good. I bought the bands debut album UNBLEED in 1997 and I wasn’t blown away. It was good but not earth-shattering. Maybe I was turned off by the cover art of the naked dude standing in the waterfall slitting his wrists! I knew the band had a bit of an old-school feel as evidenced by their choice to do an Omen medley of all things. So they dropped off my radar, their career chances not helped by sporadic, low-key albums every 4-5 years on small labels.
Fast forward to 2010 and a new album called NUCLEUS on Profound Lore. I admire and respect the label so if they saw something in the band I figured I should revisit them and I asked to have a listen of the new Dawnbringer.
I am totally blown away. The band and label have presented a low-key minimalist package, with lyrics and accented by an eye-catching, yellowish/brown (and very creepy) piece of cover artwork. Dawnbringer now is essentially a one-man band founded and run by Chris Black who handles pretty much everything except the guitars. It doesn’t sound like he needs much help because he really nailed it.
The band (Chris) has really evolved away from a Death Metal sound into a more traditional metal territory, but certainly not Euro Metal in any sense. It ain’t clean, it ain’t pretty but it’s not as brutal as Death. It’s hard to define, which is good, but I might suggest it could be described as an amalgamation of the best of the 70’s and 80’s metal sound, powered up with hints of thrash. I hear tiny hints of 90’s Annihilator (King Of The Kill) but not as anti-septic and cold. There is way more groove and thunder on this disc. Black sings in a medium lower register but it is perfectly intelligible. It sounds like Black also uses a few vocal effects to create different tones and sounds.
NUCLEUS is a well-written and diverse collection of songs. Some of the pace is relentless like on the second tune ‘You Know Me’ and ‘Cataract’ veers into a somber territory with acoustic fed opening and a dirge-like pace. I’d hesitate to simply label this Doom, Dawnbringer seems to defy easy categorization, boiling down a number of sounds into a slag-heap of metal.
Pair this album with the new Slough Feg (THE ANIMAL SPRITS) and you have a killer one-two punch of some the purest, most unpretentious metal you will hear this year.