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Dawn Ahead – Fallen Anthems

Dawn Ahead
Fallen Anthems
by Leanne Evans at 08 April 2021, 5:41 PM

The furious German fivesome, DAWN AHEAD, is an unconventional thrashcore-crossover outfit who serve up 11 tracks of frenzied ferocity, in a wildly unprecedented stylistic, in their debut album “Fallen Anthems”. Thomas first created the concept of DAWN AHEAD in around 2012, with the guys playing together for a good while, with exception of Patrick who joined the band last Summer, after the previous bassist left to embark on a new project. DAWN AHEAD have previously released 2 EP’s prior to their latest production, “Fallen Anthems”. The album spews sonic fury from the pits of hell, intertwining groove, metalcore and death, whilst over-layering with thrash brutality, serving up nothing short of neck-breaking riffs, soaring solos and a fistful of uniqueness in razor-sharp tracks.

As with every decent thrashy album, a short, but solid, instrumental breaks open to the tune of “Fallen Anthems”, paving the way for the gut-churning “Death Roll”, where uncontrollable brutality breaks out in the form of incessant thrashed riffing, with predominant emphasis on Jan’s frantic beats and Chrischaan’s clever combination of clean vocals and death-style growls. The grooved tempo twists are pretty exciting and a mint guitar solo breaks out midway through the track with some whiney licking. The innovative stylistic of different genres make for a pretty interesting listen and you can feel DAWN AHEAD’s passion for their craft bursting at the seams.

Pushing the boundaries is something that’s second nature to these guys, and they seem to get quite the kick from pushing the listener’s limits. “Suffer” brings that thrashened groove vibe about it with guttural vocals, getting you revved up for “Anthem of the Fallen” which is actually quite ANTHRAX meets SUICIDICAL TENDANCIES in structure; the blast beats that rip through are infectious as hell and the switching up and changing down of Christian’s vocals from an almost rap-esque stance, through to clean vocals and growled rasp, is infectiously intriguing.

“Fallen Anthems” brings some enjoyable heavy stylistic in its composition, which when you crack open the likes of “I Command”, you’ll see what I mean. The guttural growls mixed with the heavy riffing, soaring guitar solos and harmonies and driving drumming are absolutely NAILED! This track is one for everyone who likes their music meaty to the core, whichever genre-core it might be.

Some of the album is a bit “Marmite”, where you’ll either love it or hate it. “Among the Blind” is a prime example as it doesn’t give that brutal brick-in-the-face BAM that you might crave, but it’s nonetheless an enjoyable listen on my part. The mid-tempo dialled down feel doesn’t detract from the fantastic riffs and there’s a great groove metal feel with a smattering of SLAYER “Skeletons of Society” structure to it with the heavy bass line and drumming intro (the bass line is gloriously eerie, bravo, Patrick!). The vocal hook is quite catchy especially merged with the semi-gritty vocals, it works well and the layered approach with the guitars throughout the track is soothing. In my opinion, this half-time composition was needed to break-up from everything being amped up; if it can work for SLAYER in their 1990 album release “Seasons in the Abyss”, it can work for DAWN AHEAD.
“Fallen Anthems” picks up its speed again, dabbling with different stylistic. “Shot at Dawn” moves into a chunkier thrash sound with an aggressive guitar solo towards the end of the track, whilst “All I Have to Do” is thrash meets death. “Pride” then presents as a more metalcore sounding track, with breakdowns, growled vocals, overlayed with blast beats aplenty. The twists and turns keep on coming with the delightful face-melter “Summon the Black”. This one is a top-notch track, if a bit of a mind bender, with all the genres it seems to cover, but it works like a charm. There’s a syncopated intro, double-bass drumming kicking in, cleaner vocals with rasp that delightfully merge into demonic pitch and split open for a thrash feel later in the track. Later, a prog metal vibe pulls in, with a crescendo to a death spitter of a track once more and back to traditional thrash. Phew! Quite the earful to take in!

Last, but certainly not least, “Excess” wraps up “Fallen Anthems” in all its angry ripping glory. It’s the kind of chest-crushing, neck-breaking grrrrr track that you can feel yourself getting self-induced whiplash to, courtesy of Thomas and Marcel’s immaculate guitar work. Think dirty harsh vocals, brutal blast beats, think speed, an amalgamation of thrash and death and picture rip-roaring shredding and pure utter piss-boiling anger; this is “Excess” where everything is excessively excessive and bloody brilliant.

DAWN AHEAD display so many interesting facets and push the boundaries in metal. Unafraid and undeterred, the guys have showcased an ability to fearlessly explore different metal genres within “Fallen Anthems” with no limits and no genre barriers. At times, they don’t always hit the mark; there are moments where there is a bit too much going on and too much experimentation in a track, which can be distracting. However, the band have shown their unflinching ability to drive their own uniqueness and, with a little more streamlining and clearer direction in the fusion they wish to create, they could be more than fantastic. I was lucky enough to view a live recording from their gig in 2018 and was blown away by DAWN AHEAD’s performance of “Restless” from their first EP. The guys really are skilled with their craft; it was a high-energy flawless performance and their passion clearly courses through their veins. Hearing “Fallen Anthems” and seeing the performance from a few years ago, I’m confident in DAWN AHEAD’s capabilities and have certainty that they will continue growing and going from strength to strength. “Fallen Anthems” is an organic well-produced composition and a solid debut album. Well done, guys!

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Death Roll
2. State of Mind
3. Suffer
4. Anthem of the Fallen
5. I Command
6. Among the Blind
7. Shot at Dawn
8. All I Have to Do
9. Pride
10. Summon the Black
11. Excess
Christian 'Chrischaan' Wilsberg - Vocals
Thomas Wolf - Guitar
Marcel Martin - Guitar
Patrick Samarzija - Bass
Jan Bechtloff - Drums
Record Label: Art Gates Records


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