Reviewed: [December 2019]
Released [2019 Napalm Records]
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
If you ever wondered what Amon Amarth might sound like without the Viking shtick, Germany’s Dawn Of Disease would seem to offer a pretty good indication. Dawn’s muscular melodic death metal delivers many of the same sonic thrills – galloping tempos with the odd blasty parts, gnashing riffs and crunching hooks, soaring lead work and harmonies, burly vocals, and anthemic choruses and swells – but without the tails of battlefield derring-do; marauding, mayhem and plunder; or the raising of mead horns that have come to signify their Swedish brethren.
Despite the relative velocity with which the music is delivered on Procession Of Ghosts, Dawn’s fifth album, the mood is often either grim or melancholy – or a combination thereof – more closely echoing Insomnium, early Katatonia, etc. The chorus of the monumental “Autumn Days” pretty much puts things in perspective here: “Autumn days bring gloom and sadness.”
Yet rather than wallow in misery and take a doomier approach to their music, Dawn almost seem to be celebrating it. While songs do sometimes languish – like the aforementioned “Autumn Days,” the equally titanic “Where The Clouds Reach The Ground” and, oddly enough, the opening/intro track “Lapsarian” – the band rarely goes full slog, and is more often downright exuberant performance-wise.
Once the title track kicks in as “Lapsarian” wanes, the pace quickens as do the dramatic flourishes – including some occasionally sweeping keyboards – with vocalist Tomasz Wisniewski from neighboring Poland roaring over the top of it all. It’s a pretty darn effective approach, since even tracks like “May The Waves Take Me,” which reads like a suicide note, sound vibrant and full-bodied. And it gives the more blunt-force “Shrine,” “As Heaven Shatters” or the initially funereal “Apotropaic” some swing and finesse.
Though Procession of Ghosts does boast a familiar sound in more ways than one, Dawn Of Disease nevertheless manage to put their own stamp on it, and do so with gusto. The band have crafted a resonant, resounding album here that somehow makes you feel good about feeling bad. So horns up to them for that.