Under the Bleeding Sky
posted on 9/2004 By:
Finnish foursome Final Dawn are back with a new, old album. Under the Bleeding Sky was originally recorded in 2003 as a five song EP for a small English label. It is not clear if the EP was ever released, but according to the band’s website “things didn’t work out with the label and the deal was soon terminated.” It all seemed to work out for the band though, as they soon after signed with New Aeon Media, a subsidiary of Karmageddon Media. The band returned to the studio and recorded another three tracks, bumping the release up to a full length. Under the Bleeding Sky was released in Europe earlier this year but didn’t hit the US until August.
I’ve put this review off for a bit, trying to put my finger on some of the intangibles of the album. I was hoping the album would click with me, and it did--well kind of. Under the Bleeding Sky is a solid offering and an enjoyable listen, but like the old saying about Chinese food, it doesn’t really stay with you. There are some quality hooks and some fine head banging moments, but the album seems to be lacking a bit of killer instinct to really make it stick to the ribs.
Final Dawn play melodic death metal mixed with quite a bit of thrash and traditional metal elements. Nothing entirely unique, but the blend is done right. They balance heavy riffs and melody effectively, although it would be nice to hear more tempo changes. The vocals are delivered in a hoarse growling grunt, in kind of a Mikael Akerfeldt meets Jeff Walker meets Tom Warrior fashion. Vocals are often the toughest selling point for a band, and these may turn some fans off, but I think they suit the music well. The three new songs are interspersed with the first batch of tunes and are great additions. “Solemn Art” has become the new opener and is far and away the best song on the album. The tune features a fast and heavy intro with some good dual guitar harmonies and the most memorable chorus on the album. “Ardent” and “Aggression Overdrive” are other standout tracks, with the latter being the most dynamic song on the album by incorporating some killer clean guitar work. Both songs display some of the heaviest riffs on the album and show evidence of an appreciation for Opeth and Megadeth.
I’ll definitely be watching for this band’s follow up effort to see if that killer instinct I referred to is punched up a bit. Still, Under the Bleeding Sky is worth a listen. Final Dawn already shows some quality and a good amount of potential—not bad at all for a debut. I'll take that second serving now, please.
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