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Dawn - Darker CD (album) cover

DARKER

Dawn

 

Symphonic Prog

3.65 | 30 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Second Life Syndrome
3 stars Albums such as Dawn's new effort "Darker" are extremely difficult to rate. The reason for this is that the album itself is actually rather good. I believe it is derivative, however, and therein lies my conundrum. Dawn hails from Switzerland, a country that I don't hear much of in the way of prog. Their sophomore album certainly lives up to its name, and I feel that is its greatest asset.

"Darker" is an album full of lush keyboards, dark guitars, and throbbing bass environments. The band plays very well, and I'm especially impressed with Nicolas Gerber on keys. His Hammond organ swells and loops material with precision and changes in octave that come at just the right moment. It's a very effective foundation for the rest of the music. However, René Degoumois on guitars is also very talented, especially the emotive, high- tuned portions that stand against a blackened aura. Julien Vuataz on bass and Manu Linder on drums combine to craft a rhythm section that gurgles and flares when needed, and they both display their fair share of incredible musicianship. There is no question, then, that this band can play.

If I had to liken Dawn to another band, it would be The Flower Kings, for sure. Sure, there are hints of Floyd, King Crimson, and maybe even Riverside, but The Flower Kings seem to be everywhere in this album. In fact, the dark pondering about war that permeates "Darker" is very much in line with The Flower Kings' "Desolation Rose" from last year. This is a shame, in my opinion. Even with his accent, René Degoumois on vocals sounds so much like Stolt. These guys are obviously much better than a TFK clone, and they show it every once in a while with lengthy instrumentals, a dark environment, and other ways. However, they always go back to that TFK sound. I like TFK, but I don't need other bands to sound just like them.

All is not lost, however. What Dawn does, they do well. This album is full of rolling instrumental brilliance, some creative portions (Lullabies for Gutterflies), and a mastery of climactic ideas. I especially appreciate "Cold" with its keyboard swells; the title track for its, well, darkness; and "Endless" for its magnificent conclusion. My favorite, however, is "8945", a masterful epic track that is not only brilliant musically, but is also sullenly profound. The album seems to center on the ravages of war and man's terrifying abilities to destroy. Against this backdrop, they add in the horrors of men killing in the name of God. It's harsh stuff, and it elevates this album considerably.

"Darker", then, is not a lost cause. I do believe the band needs to branch out their sound, but the lyrical content and the slightly darker, less humorous side are a welcome differentiation from The Flower Kings material. This a great album that I think deserves anyone's time, but know that you are in for a dark journey that will leave you wondering, "What have we done?"

3.5 stars

Second Life Syndrome | 3/5 |

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