|Review: Dark At Dawn - Of Decay And Desire|
|Of Decay And Desire|
Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2003
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: March 1, 2008
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
for:Of Decay And Desire
What a change. This is nowhere near as bleak and dark and "uncatchy" as Dark at Dawn's brooding sophomore effort Crimson Frost, being a full on Power Metal attack on the senses, with strong, articulate melodies accentuated with a crunchy, dense guitar tone and the rumbling bellow of vocalist Buddy Kohlrausch, who is a lot of the reason why this is so good. But really, it's just good music in general, not for any superificial reason, or for any progressive style of songwriting, complex instrumentation, lyrical slant, none of that. Of Decay and Desire is just a tour de force of extremely solid and powerful music, no other way to describe it. For those who are unfamiliar with the band, they play German Power Metal, but not in the style of bands like Helloween or Freedom Call, and not in the style of those like Wizard or Iron Savior, either. They boast a commendable, rhythm-heavy style of Metal with gruff, but tuneful, vocals, and beautiful, searing melodies that always remind me of the endless, wide blue ocean. This isn't exactly innovative, but it's much more original than what other bands are doing these days, no doubt about that.
Dark at Dawn, just like early 90s Savatage (think Edge of Thorns era), had refined their style to an art form with this album, and although this isn't near as proggy as Edge of Thorns was, the basic blueprint for the songwriting remains the same there and on this album. Their songwriting has streamlined quite a bit from the open, Fates Warning-esque progressive sound from the debut album, becoming a lot more verse/chorus/verse style, structurally, but accusing this band of selling out or trying to appeal to a wider audience would be ridiculous. Catchiness is a good thing (don't people like to be able to remember a good song?), and Dark at Dawn know how to write a catchy fucking song. There's a right way and a wrong way, and the line between them is not extremely bold, but it's definitely there, and Dark at Dawn have fallen clearly into the "good" camp. Don't be fooled by the shorter song times and the ballads/more "radio friendly" songs; this is about a thousand times better than anything I've ever heard on a mainstream radio station. This album is another one of those where you can pick any individual song and enjoy it just as much as you would if you played the whole album from start to end, and with standouts like "The Sleepwalker," "End of Ice - Warriorqueen," "Forever," "Rose of Tears," and the killer "One Night Fall," Of Decay and Desire is a masterclass in catchy, powerful music, and Dark at Dawn's finest album ever. Highly recommended.
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