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Sadauk – A New Dawn

Sadauk
A New Dawn
by Jon Conant at 22 January 2018, 5:28 PM

So, who are SADAUK exactly? If you visit their Facebook page, it says that they have been around since 1996. Well, if you see releasing one demo back in 1996, nothing for 20 years, and then a debut full-length in 2017 as being around since 1996, then okay - they have been. Otherwise, they are fresh newcomers to the ever-growing Symphonic Metal scene, and in their own words promise that “you will be surprised that there are still some interesting bands combining Classic Metal sounds to a new dimension.” Interesting.

Their debut full-length in question, “A New Dawn”, does ultimately prove to have a more unique and interesting sound than other new Symphonic Metal bands entering the genre. The overall presentation is melodic and bold, but contrasted with fantastic rhythm guitar work full of headbang-inducing riffage. The beginning of track 2 “Act 1- Melhinis Death” at first made me proclaim to myself that “Symphonic Metal is back!” The guitar and piano work at the beginning of the song are amazing, and it reminded me of when I first listened to “Dark Passion Play” by NIGHTWISH, which for context was the album that gave me my first real introduction to Metal and started my love affair with the genre. So I was excited.

But, it was shortly revealed that while this album is excellent with an amazing overall approach, it is not without it’s rookie mistakes. I have two major complaints. The first of which is something I hate to do, because it takes artistic energy, effort, and time to create any sort of vocals, and I would never want to take away from that. But, the harsh vocals throughout the album, regardless of which member is performing them, are consistently bad. I checked with several people to make sure I wasn’t just being a hater, they also though they were bad. In terms of production they were shallow and did not blend with the instrumentals, and in terms of delivery they were monotonous and breathy as opposed to powerful and dark, which is the standard in today’s modern Metal scene. I see a lot of potential there, and I hope as SADAUK learns and grows with each new release, they find ways to improve upon the harsh vocals.

My second major complaint with the album was the length. 13 songs is too long for a debut full-length album of this genre, especially when you are trying to introduce new sounds and styles. To make the album more approachable, I feel that 9-10 songs would have suited it better. That being said, SADAUK has a specific story they want to tell, and I respect their artistic right to make a 13 track album. That’s their decision, for better or for worse. On that note, the album art is some of the best album art I have EVER seen, and it got me incredibly invigorated to hear the album and see the story they were going to tell. Presentation of this caliber is to be commended.

The album starts off on a very impressive note. The aptly titled intro track “Overture – Ancient Lithdor” doesn’t bother hiding what it is – an almost 3-minute symphonic intro track setting up the album. I love it when bands do this, so, so much. I think it’s a beautiful way to set up an album, and then the transition into the headbang worthy riff work of track 2 “Act 1- Melhinis Death” is flawless. The next two songs, “Act 2 – Cursed Land” and “Act 3 – Battle A God” continue the riff heavy Speed/Power/Symphonic Metal sound of the beginning of the album without really stopping. I did criticize the album for being long, but to be fair they keep things moving fairly well, which is good.

From there, we descend into some middle-of-the-album ‘muck’: a lot of good ideas and well done concepts (including some wonderful female lead vocals), which however ultimately fail to present a unique but cohesive sound to help individual tracks stand out. The next time the album really stands out for me is track 8 “Sailing Away”. This track is nearly bordering on Melodic Death Metal, featuring some of the most interesting lead guitar work, and some of the best harsh AND clean vocals. It is a very complete song, and it is emotional and powerful. The melody of the guitars remind me strongly of INSOMNIUM, and coming from me that’s a hell of a compliment.

Track 10 “Tears Of The Sun” is another individual track worth noting for me, for the same reasons. It presents interesting and fresh melodic concepts, while still keeping the same profound Metal presentation. It is epic, and it is very emotionally engaging art. That being said, the closer “Sage and Jester” ends the album on a weak note. It fails to wrap things up cohesively, and does not have a fluid structure; it’s a choppy way to end an album. That being said, it does feature some of the most interesting guitar work on the album. Both in mid-song softer melodies, and an amazing solo about 2/3 of the way through. Still, it would have been nice to end the album on stronger footing.

All in all, I see a ton of great things happening in SADAUK. While this may be their rookie release, and there are mistakes to match, there is some truth to the claim they have been around since 1996. These are talented musicians who have been playing their instruments for many years despite this being their first release, and it shows. I am excited to watch SADAUK grow, they have the ideas and songwriting skills to create amazing music. If they can correct some fundamental mistakes that, to their credit, most bands make in their youth, they will have a lot of success. If you like Symphonic Metal, give “A New Dawn” a listen.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 6

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Overture - Ancient Lithdor
  2. Act 1 - Melhinis Death
  3. Act 2 - Cursed Land
  4. Act 3 - Battle A God
  5. Epitaph - Funeral Among Roses
  6. Posterity - Eleannas Prophecy
  7. Vikingagillets Kvade
  8. Sailing Away
  9. As They Sleep Behind The Horizon
  10. Tears Of The Sun
  11. Who Is King In Paradise
  12. Hourglass
  13. Sage And Jester
Lineup:
Joppe Crambert - Vocals
Therése Thomsson - Female Vocals
Daniel Tillberg - Bass
Mats Nehl - Guitars
Jesper Johansson - Guitars, Keyboards
Patrik Finnermark - Drums
Record Label: Pure Legend Records
     


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Edited 23 February 2018
 

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