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Just Before Dawn – In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow Award winner

Just Before Dawn
In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow
by Alex Barnard at 10 February 2022, 11:58 PM

JUST BEFORE DAWN is a Death Metal band from Stockholm, Sweden. “In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow” is the group’s fifth EP, released by Raw Skull Recordz on December 18, 2021.

Honestly, it makes me very happy that, lately, I have been able to review bands that take immense inspiration from the underappreciated Stockholm Death Metal scene – and this group is actually from the epicenter! JUST BEFORE DAWN clearly bow their heads in reverence to the giants from this scene, as is indicated not only by the buzz-saw guitars and the primitive, dangerous riffs, but also through the inclusion of a kickass cover of an ENTOMBED track from their seminal record, “Left Hand Path” (“Drowned”)!

However, what makes this band stand apart from the pack is their utilization of space. Whereas most bands within this style essentially sound like MOTÖRHEAD but with down-tuned guitars and death growls, JUST BEFORE DAWN choose to slow down and hit the grooves hard, and fill out the space with tons of reverb, giant chords, and, at times, an almost Black Metal sense of melody. Thus, while there is an appreciation for groups like DISMEMBER and GRAVE, the longer, more spaced-out epics like the title track sound more reminiscent of groups like BOLT THROWER and even – dare I say – NEUROSIS. Whatever the case may be, all of this works to the band’s favor to create an original take on a truly classic sound.

Other major highlights from this EP include “Bloodlands,” whose opening riff instantly gave me a gigantic, evil grin which I kept on my face the entire time; “Waltzing Hummel,” which has the fastest pace of the original tracks on this EP (obviously, the ENTOMBED cover is the fastest song overall); and “The Hours Before the Dawn,” which makes a brilliant use of constantly evolving harmonies within a simple chord progression. Hang on – I just checked my notes, and I have talked about every single track on this EP! What a coincidence; I guess the whole thing is a highlight.

Overall, what JUST BEFORE DAWN have created here is singularly superb. It’s not just a rehash of the classic 90s Swedish Death Metal scene, but rather, it is an update that brings that style into the modern era without bastardizing it. I could listen to this EP on repeat for weeks – and I strongly suggest you do the same.

Production: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Songwriting: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Waltzing Hummel
2. Bloodlands
3. The Hours Before the Dawn
4. In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow
5. Drowned
Lineup:
Anders Biazzi – Bass, Guitars
Jon Rudin – Drums
Gustav Myrin – Guitars
Remco Kreft – Vocals
Record Label: Raw Skull Recordz
     


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