Dawn of Defiance
The Obscure Awakening
Released: 2005, Self-Released
Solo bands get written off far too quickly, at least those outside of the black metal scene, but even then many listeners pass it off as subpar material, assuming that because the musician in question couldn’t get other band members because the music isn’t that good. In many cases, especially in the last few years, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Many great metal solo artists seem to be coming to my attention as of late…
Now where does THE OBSCURE AWAKENING by Dawn of Defiance (helmed by Guitarist/Bassist/Vocalist Diego Sendra) sit as far as single musician releases go? Well, it’s certainly an enjoyable listen that’s for sure, though it does have its drawbacks. Dawn of Defiance’s style is definitely in the thrash metal arena with hints and touches from death metal here and there, most noticeable in the low, half growled, half spoken vocals. Unfortunately Diego’s vocals are one thing that really detracts from the experience. While he’s certainly not horrible, he isn’t altogether convincing as a vocalist, maybe it has to do with his voice being so bare in the recording process with no effects or double tracking but many times I’d like to hear a voice that’s either much deeper (in the heavier sections) or maybe even some clean thrash vocals, especially in “The Eyes of a Killer”. Being limited to a single musician the songs are pretty straightforward (especially the, programmed, drums) but tend to be filled with many different sections, creating a nice contrast to the rather simple riffs and melodies because while they may not be very deep, there certainly are a lot of them.
Right on the initial listen the songs “Social Slavery”, “The Eyes of a Killer”, and “Payback Time” stood out as Dawn of Defiance’s better material. The ideas and sections flow so well and don’t really get caught up in attempting to play with dynamics as much as in a song like “Love Denied”. The songs are pretty straight forward though, as said earlier, riffs change and sections push on frequently. “Social Slavery” for instance sees a rather long opening with Diego not dwelling on one idea for too long, opting to keep things moving. From the opening, almost NY thrash riff, to the double bass-backed melodic speed metal, which then transforms into pounding, bouncing riffs and open chords it rarely lets up and really takes over until Diego’s voice comes in after 2 minutes already.
As far as the lacklustre tracks, “Love Denied” does see Diego attempt a cleaner vocal approach but the track borders on being a gothic metal track and while I can commend the attempt, I’d put this down as an experiment gone wrong. In “The Ungod Command” Diego’s vocals completely take over the song and really detract from my enjoyment, I do understand what he’s going for here but it just hurts the song too much as I don’t think this is something he can accomplish without help.
With its debut release Dawn of Defiance have gained some solid footing but I’m hoping that when we see a second album that we can see some improvement in the vocals and maybe a tad less experimentation with the softer side and dynamics, or if not, possibly a better way to integrate those sections together with the much more appealing death-tinged thrash metal.