Thursday, 12 March 2015

Just Before Dawn - The Aftermath

JUST BEFORE DAWN - The Aftermath (CHAOS Records - CD 2014)
Few months ago I received the debut album of project called Just Before Dawn, which was formed by Anders Biazzi, also a guitar player in Blood Mortized. Well, my review of “Precis innan gryningen” was very positive, I enjoyed the music a lot, as well as the whole idea for the IIWW concept (which maybe is nothing new, as we also have bands like Bolt Thrower, Decaying or Hail of Bullets, but very cool anyways) and most importantly, also the idea to get different musicians involved in each song. All in all, “Precis innan gryningen” was a very positive surprise. I am happy that this album wasn’t just one-off thing and Mr. Biazzi worked on his second album… which I again got from him! Awesome! The second opus is called “The Aftermath” and was again released by Chaos Records from Mexico. Hmm, I must say that while I really have nothing against this label, but I would seriously re-consider releasing such thin digipacks as they did for “The Aftermath” (and for some other Chaos releases). I just hate them! Not only they’re more like fuckin beer coasters, so thin they are, but also it’s just so damn pissing to take the CD or the booklet out from the digipack. It’s actually easy to get them all damaged, so please… don’t do these coasters / digipacks anymore, just stick to the normal jewel case CDs, all right?
Now, as for the music… “The Aftermath” is pretty much a continuation of the first album. There’s no doubt that Anders Biazzi knows exactly what he wants to achieve with his project and what sort of music he wants it to play. So, “The Aftermath” is very much similar to “Precis innan gryningen”, which is fine. And I again enjoyed this album, but… well, I have one big “but” reserved for “The Aftermath”. I really think that this time there’re just too many songs on the album. While there’s nothing really wrong with the general performance or songwriting, it just happens that the album goes for 55 minutes and it just feels very monotonous after a while. This impression, especially the first impression, is even deepened if you realize that basically each song has been played in very alike tempos, with very similar, quite melodic and surely epic riff, arrangements, etc… Yeah, it’s just a bit too much. Of course monotonous is not the same as boring, but the first album was 35 minutes long and was more varied and it was one of reasons for its greatness. I guess that Biazzi wrote too many solid songs for “The Aftermath” and simply decided to include them all… but damn, I would just take 3-4 songs off and made again a nice 35-40 minutes long album. It wouldn’t be easy, as all material is very solid, but I am sure that the impression would be better. But well… “The Aftermath” is what it is. It is good album, but slightly too long.
What saves “The Aftermath” from being a piece of dullness is just the quality of some of these songs. Surely Just before Dawn is now a great specialist in epic melodic death metal. There are some great songs, I also like the atmosphere of the album… yeah… epic and monumental, not really brutal, but melodic and maybe even slightly sorrowful death metal. This is what you’ll find here. Such tracks like “Soulburner”, “Device of Utter Dearh”, “Lightning War”, “Death From Above”  or “Feast of the Firedemon” are all simply really damn cool and great songs, with some truly memorable melodies, great riffs, some really good vocals. But if I had to point out some less killer, weaker songs then I would mention such “Through the Mud!”, with rather weak vocal performance from old basterds Grewe and Lodmalm (the participation of the latter is quite surprising, considering his gothic / disco fuckin shit music he played with Cemetary and other projects…). This is surely a song I would just skip and erase from the tracklist, as it doesn’t offer anything truly exceptional. But the majority of the songs is very nice… it’s also aggressive, when it needs to be, especially when the music sounds like a soundtrack for warfare! Oh, it also makes a lot of sense to read the lyrics, so you’ll understand what war stories Just Before Dawn has to tell.
Again I must remind you that Anders Biazzi has invited several more or less known musicians to perform on his album. And damn, the list for “The Aftermath” is long and impressive! I don’t know all musicians, but you can hear such vocalists as Marc Grewe, Ralf Hauber, Johan Jansson, Dave Ingram, Jonas Stålhammar, Anders Strokirk, David Nilsson, Gustav Myrin, Thomas Wouters and Jonas Lindblad… plus some guest guitar solos from the likes of Rick Rozz and Ronnie Björnström. So, nice collective of allies united against the enemy and sent in the first line of the front. Invasion has began!
Summing it all up…“The Aftermath” is nice, solid album, but for the future I would be more careful with the selection of songs and the length of the album. Not always more means better. Also, maybe if you’re a fan of more aggressive and obscure take on death metal, then this album won’t be your thing. But I like both, so generally I have no problems with “The Aftermath” haha! It’s cool, solid death metal album, which I have enjoyed quite much, although prefer the first CD more. Oh, one more thing; there are two versions of “The Aftermath”, each includes a different bonus track – mine has a song titled “Frontline” with vocals from the old Necrophobic vocalist Anders Strokirk, who I am sure you remember from recording the vocals on one of the best albums of all time, titled “The Nocturnal Silence”!
Standout tracks: “Soulburner”, “Device of Utter Dearh”, “Lightning War”, “Death From Above”, “Feast of the Firedemon”

Final rate: 70/100

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