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SHADES OF DAWN

Symphonic Prog • Germany


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Shades Of Dawn biography
The self-proclaimed "only prog band from Dusseldorf," has its roots in a band named Kawumm. In 1993 they added vocalist/guitarist Hans Juergen Klein, changed the name to Shades of Dawn, and saw the departure of the original lead guitarist. In '94 they recorded previously written material, but lack of finances forced them to put the project on the shelf.

In '95, the keyboardist and bass player, were replaced by Cyrill Stoletzky, and Theo Labs (respectively). This added a fresh dimension to the bands sound, and set the course for their musical direction.

With the lineup of Hans-Jürgen Klein on lead vocals and guitars, Peter Schneider on keyboards, Christopher Struwe on drums, Theo Labs on bass, and Cyrill Stoletzky on keyboards, they set out to record their first album in 1997. This would become 1998's "The Dawn of Time." That year they also played the Burg Herzburg Festival. However, the newfound success was not enough to keep Stoletzky and Labs in the band. They would return for appearances as guest musicians.

The ensuing years saw more personnel changes, with new additions, members returning (as guests, or permanent), and leaving again. During this time they recorded the track "Plenty of Gold" for a sampler album, which has become a cult favorite with the fans. The band also did some work for television soundtracks. The material from the first album was unearthed, re-mastered, and released as "The Slaughterhouse tapes." All the while they kept up with live performances, even with an ever-fluid lineup.

In 2005 they recorded the album "From Dusk Till Dawn," which is set for worldwide release by Musea in 2006.

This is a modern band with strong symphonic components. They bring a classic prog sound (Yes, Camel, Eloy) into the present. For a band that can't seem to keep a steady group together, they manage to keep going. Looking for a band to play in? Chances are these guys have an opening.

H.T. Riekels (bhikkhu)

Shades Of Dawn official website

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From Dusk Till DawnFrom Dusk Till Dawn
Import
Musea 2007
Audio CD$12.69
$25.31 (used)
Graffity's RainbowGraffity's Rainbow
Import
Musea 2011
Audio CD$17.39
$43.56 (used)
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SHADES OF DAWN discography


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SHADES OF DAWN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
The Slaughterhouse Tapes
1994
2.69 | 9 ratings
The Dawn Of Time
1998
3.13 | 11 ratings
From Dusk Till Dawn
2005
3.04 | 24 ratings
Graffity's Rainbow
2011

SHADES OF DAWN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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SHADES OF DAWN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Graffity's Rainbow by SHADES OF DAWN album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.04 | 24 ratings

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Graffity's Rainbow
Shades Of Dawn Symphonic Prog

Review by mbzr48

4 stars In the last couple of years several German bands impressed me with their records and they also reached high positions in my personal top-15 list of the year. 2011 marks the release of another excellent album made by a German band, Graffity's Rainbow by Shades of Dawn contains the same kind of Neo-prog rock music as the mentioned albums. The band created a fabulous album which hardly contains weak spots. Graffity's Rainbow is the band's third album after their debut The Dawn of Time (1998) and From Dusk Till Dawn (2005). As you can see the band takes quite some time to record a new album, but that's mainly due to problems on a personnel level. Before and after the release of Graffity's Rainbow the band again suffered serious problems. Drummer Chris Struwe got cancer, and he sadly died on June 6, 2011. In the meantime their excellent bass player Klaus Lohr left the band. Listening to Graffity's Rainbow makes clear how good these musicians were. Of course they weren't the only ones who did an excellent job. The other musicians responsible for this fine album are Hans-Jürgen Klein (guitars), Bernhard Marx (keyboards, saxophone) and Peter Schneider (keyboards, bass pedals). They were actually the reason that I kept playing this record over and over again, their tasteful solos were a real treat for me. All compositions are of a very high quality level and the musicians have a good feel for melody and drama. Especially the title track shows the craftsmanship of the musicians. On this epic piece, inspired by the novel Graffity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, you can hear that they're able to write excellent compositions. The keyboard intro is fantastic and throughout the remainder of the track the guitars and synthesizers are dominant. If you listen carefully to this piece you might recognize some familiar classical parts like Franz Schubert's Unfinished Symphony and The Great Gate Of Kiev by the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky. Hopefully they'll get a drummer and a bass player having the same musical skills as the musicians on this CD that is highly recommended to people who enjoy neo-progressive rock in the vein of Martigan, Jack Yello, Pallas, Pendragon and IQ. Solid 4 Star for me!

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 Graffity's Rainbow by SHADES OF DAWN album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.04 | 24 ratings

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Graffity's Rainbow
Shades Of Dawn Symphonic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 'Graffity's Rainbow' - Shades Of Dawn (4/10)

Like so many others, Shades Of Dawn takes their inspiration from the classic British prog rock acts of the early 1970s. As most could guess, the vast majority of this music does not even begin to compare to the legends. After all, back when bands like Yes and Genesis were making their music, the style they were playing was truly progressive and fresh. Now, there are certainly progressive acts out there, but so many do what Shades Of Dawn do, that is, to favour emulation over innovation. Suffice to say, this band does not do it with near the same conviction that their influences, or even some other modern day progressive acts do. Despite the obvious ambition that goes along with the territory of releasing four epics on one album, I find myself generally bored and unimpressed by what Shades Of Dawn have done with 'Graffity's Rainbow'.

This latest album from the band appears to be an attempt at replaying the magic that Yes captured with 'Tales From Topographic Oceans', a four track double album built by four epic suites. While 'Topographic Oceans' was- in my opinion- a work of genius, this falls short of that mark. Instead, 'Graffity's Rainbow' is an overdrawn work that shows glimmers of light here and there, but overall feels like its taking too long to say too little. As far as symphonic prog goes, the tones and textures that we might associate with the modern incarnation of that sound are here. Warm guitars and plenty of keyboards are the order of the day here, with vocals and lyrics about war, fantasy, and some combination of the two. There are a multiplicity of vocalists here, and some parts are much better than others, as far as singing goes. At times, the voice is emotive and soft, and at other times, the German inflections mix with the cheesy lyrics in just the wrong way, and leaves a fairly negative impression on me.

On the other hand, the 'symphonic' element on Shades Of Dawn is quite good, even excellent at times. It seems this band were aiming for a classical influence in their music, and I believe they have found it with their lush keyboard arrangements, particularly in the latter half of the album. While uneventful and even bland by some standards, they build and counterpoint in ways that are indicative of classical music, and it's among the most sincere work you will hear on the album. Barring that, 'Graffity's Rainbow' is a mediocre work from a band whose mission statement in making music is not really one I find myself agreeing with.

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 The Dawn Of Time by SHADES OF DAWN album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.69 | 9 ratings

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The Dawn Of Time
Shades Of Dawn Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Out of the Dusseldorf-based rock band Kawumm came the birth of Shades of Dawn,when vocalist/guitarist Hans Jürgen Klein joined the band and the rename followed in 1993.Shortly after original guitarist Karl Nothen left them along with his bluesy style to be replaced by Klein's melodic approach.Shades of Dawn suffered from line-up changes since then with original members Wolfgang Schmidt (bass,guitar) and Annette Schepermann (keys) quiting and newbies keyboardist Cyrill Stoletzky and bass player Theo Labs joining shortly after.This line- up recorded ''The dawn of time'',released on Early Birds.

Filled with long tracks,''The dawn of time'' will satisfy any fan of Symphonic Rock with some Neo Prog elements.The sound recalls bands as COLLAGE, ANYONE'S DAUGHTER, AMENOPHIS and MARILLION.The guitar work is excellent,slighly distorted, delivering plenty of breaks,melodic solos and dreamy passages.Klein is supported by a talented Cyrill Stoletzky,who's keyboards are everywhere with both aggresive and atmospheric style.The flashy synth soloing,light organ passages and Classical-inspired piano will leave you speechless.The compositions are all in a high level with numerous shifting moods,a grandiose atmosphere and a huge amount of energy.However Klein's vocals are questionable,not actually bad, but definitely accented and with a need for improvement, marking the long instrumental sections as the album's highlights.

This is very good Symphonic Rock with both guitars' and keyboards' explosions and anyone searching for this particular style along with a high level of energy will find ''The dawn of time'' absolutely fascinating.The album still comes strongly recommended for fans of Classic Progressive Rock and Neo Prog...3.5 stars.

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 The Dawn Of Time by SHADES OF DAWN album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.69 | 9 ratings

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The Dawn Of Time
Shades Of Dawn Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars Although this album appeared before "From Dusk till Dawn", the material is actually more recent. The style is more or less neo prog, reminding me alot of IQ in the sense that they often go for a long drawn out yet overly rushed and big sound at the expense of subtlety and melody, with the resulting lack of memorability. This is especially evident on the first three tracks, even if "Threads of Reality" contains a few appealing Middle Eastern brush strokes, but the tendency does permeate most of the album.

The shortest track is basically a decent classically inspired piano solo, "Ulysses Rollercoaster", and it effectively separates the mediocre from the decent material. Apart from the general neo and, by extension, Genesis influence, I also hear Shades of later Eloy, which is not a bad thing in my opinion. The four part instrumental which follows features more concise themes especially on synths in the later stages. "Plenty of Gold" begins with crickets and then becomes a stately slower paced spacey ballad. Even if it does drag a bit in the middle, the changes of pace are a welcome contrast to what came before. Klein's vocals are somewhat higher registered a la Frank Bornemann meets Jon Anderson, but they generally get the job done. "Sometimes" is even better, with an elegant memory first conveyed in wordless vocalizations then idealistic lyrics about the state of the world, featuring some heartfelt harmonies.

Apart from the aforementioned weaknesses typical of much neo, my big problem with the album is that it sounds less interesting each time I hear it, for which I dock a half star. The band has a lot of good ideas but needs to live up to its name by producing more "shades" that reflect the beauty of the dawn light.

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 From Dusk Till Dawn by SHADES OF DAWN album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.13 | 11 ratings

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From Dusk Till Dawn
Shades Of Dawn Symphonic Prog

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a German band that made recordings halfway the Nineties but it lasted until 2006 to release an album. The CD From Dusk To Dawn contains 11 compositions, four are re- recorded a few years ago. Shades Of Dawn their sound is mainly in the realm of the neo- prog like early Marillion and IQ but without being a copycat. I am pleased with the tasteful and varied arrangements with a modern sound, from dreamy and spacey to fluent and bombastic. A strong point is the interplay between the guitar and keyboards but I am also delighted about the wonderful, often howling guitar runs and the pleasant keyboards work (from harpsichord and organ to string-ensemble and choir-Mellotron sounds). Due to the slight German accent and the melodic and harmonic sound, Shades Of Dawn their music reminds me at some moments of Austrian band Eela Craig but less symphonic and with a more modern sound. To me this CD is a pleasant effort that will appeal to the neo-prog fans.

This album is dedicated to prime mover Wolfgang Schmidt who died of a heart- attack in January 2000.



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 The Dawn Of Time by SHADES OF DAWN album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.69 | 9 ratings

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The Dawn Of Time
Shades Of Dawn Symphonic Prog

Review by harryhartmann

2 stars All in all this album is not too bad. BUT: the first thing I recognize is the singing. It is in a high region and the singer does not reach eat smooth. He works in his highest region and this does not sound rather comfortable. Then there is the drumming. It's a bit Phil Collins like. But, as the booklet says, no clicktracks were used - they should have used them, the timing seems week in some places. The Keys are in a symphatic Genesis way, which is fine, if you like it. Some guitars sound a bit too much like Steve Hackett.

A Genesis-Clone? No, not really, but you can hear there Influence a bit too much, at least for my taste. I mean, I like the old Genesis stuff, but somehow I don't get along with this album in the same way.

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 The Dawn Of Time by SHADES OF DAWN album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.69 | 9 ratings

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The Dawn Of Time
Shades Of Dawn Symphonic Prog

Review by claudiadiaz

4 stars I don`t understand why I never heard anything about Shades of Dawn.I would say that it fit perfectly for the people who like neo-prog.The second half of the cd is just amazing and well done. The guitar playing by Hans just blew me away. This cd starts slowly but don`t worry it has 50 minutes out of 69 of good music.The only negative thing I have to say is that the singing is a little bit to speedy like Castarnac!

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