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Kambrium - Dawn of the Five Suns

Kambrium
Dawn of the Five Suns
by Sean McGuirk at 16 December 2018, 10:29 PM

There’s something in the water, or the bratwurst, in Germany that makes it a breeding ground for the best of epic Metal. KAMBRIUM are relative newcomers to the scene, having formed in 2005, with now four full-length albums in their catalog. Playing self-described epic Death Metal, their latest release “Dawn of the Five Suns” has them turning away from standard Melo-Death territory and reaching further into the genre that put Germany on the metal map, pulling out a 16-man choir, video game sound design, Jens Johansson-style keyboard solos and cover art by everyone’s favorite Power Metal Picasso, digital artist Felipe Machado.

The concept of the album is said to be based on ancient Aztec and Mayan mythology, but they didn’t spend too much time trying to incorporate the cultures’ music into the album, instead opting for more of a modern comic book movie sound aesthetic mixed with Eastern-flavored melodies that recall Finnish legends AMORPHIS more than anything.

After the short instrumental “Forest Hunt”, comes the title track, a ripper that could be compared to another Finnish band, CHILDREN OF BODOM, with a chiming keyboard in the chorus from Jan Hein reminiscent of the orchestrations of BODOM’s Janne Warman. which makes you wonder: are all metal keyboardists named Jan, Janne or Jens?

The choruses on these first few tracks feel as though the band was eager to put their new vocal weaponry to good use. The belting choir (made up of mostly musician friends) is used to great effect on the third track “Against All Gods" but grows tiring by the time “Cabrakan, God of Mountains” comes along. The voice-over narration here is helpful considering the complexity of the concept, but ultimately causes the track to get lost in its own grandeur. By contrast, “Ghost Shaman” is one of the strongest and most original tracks on the album, as it transports the listener into a haunted wood with its eerie melodies and ghostly choir, no narration needed.

Everlasting Resistance” has a roaring open that reminds of Devin Townsend in his most brutal form, with clean vocalist Karsten Simon nailing Devy’s strained operatic tone. “Tribe of Darkness” contains all the hallmarks of German Power Metal pioneers BLIND GUARDIAN in their post-“Nightfall” period, down to the opening wah-wah guitar lead and inspiring chorus.

“Blood Soaked Goddess” contains the guest female growl vocals of Melissa Bonny (RAGE OF LIGHT, EVENMORE) but you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between her and Martin Simon, the groups resident growler. The title is chanted during the chorus as if a nod to the NILE classic “Black Seeds of Vengeance.”

All of these influences coalesce beautifully on “Sacrifices Must Be Made”, which very well could be a blueprint for KAMBRIUM’s signature sound from here on. It has a heavy groove, an infectious chorus and tasteful orchestrations, like an acoustic guitar passage that leads into a ripping guitar solo, altogether making the song the emotional high point of the album.

The final track, “Lord of Mictian” has that aforementioned Eastern influence in its melody and a powerful-but-wordy gang chorus that brings the album to a close on an epic note. Make sure you stay for the after-the-credits scene, which includes a humorous sound effect of a man being eaten by some sort of dragon beast!  Spoiler alert!

KAMBRIUM have set themselves apart from a lot of their competition by utilizing the power of melodic Death Metal in a fantasy setting, and the hurdles that this kind of meeting of two distinct genres creates are on display here in equal measure with its potential for something truly special. It will be exciting to see where the Gods take them next!

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Forest Hunt
2. Dawn Of The Five Suns
3. Against All Gods
4. Cabrakan, God Of Mountains
5. Everlasting Resistance
6. Ghost Shaman
7. Tribe Of Darkness
8. Nocturnal Woods
9. Sacrifices Must Be Made
10. Blood Soaked Goddess
11. Lord Of Mictlan
Lineup:
Martin Simon - Growls, Bass
Jan Hein - Composer, Orchestrations
Karsten Simon - Guitar, Clean Vocals
Maximillian Werner - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Fabien Chmiel - Drums, Percussion
Record Label: NoiseArt Records
     


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