When a band selects to take a trip down the melodic side of the death metal genre, they either have to bring masterfully technical musicianship, much like Children of Bodom have down over the years, or bring a sack full of head-sticking choruses like Soilwork did on last years the Sonic Broadcast. Failure to bring either of these will result in a rather flat affair, and it’s something that Before the Dawn have come awfully close to doing here.
The main problem with Deathstar Rising is that it’s not heavy enough to make you want to lose your shit, nor is it really catchy enough to cause you hook-infested migraines. Instead, Before the Dawn have plonked themselves firmly in the middle, not giving enough of either side to really captivate the listener fully. The solos are good – notably on Unbroken – if not slightly standard, the hooks are occasionally catchy but less so as the album progresses and the overall heaviness of the album feels less explored than it perhaps could have been. Admittedly, the album does manage a four song surge that proves to be the biggest highlight, just listen to the run of Deathstar, Remembrance, Unbroken and Judgment and you’ll get a firm picture of what Before the Dawn are capable of when they’re at their best.
Unfortunately, however, the majority of the remaining songs fall well below the mark and merely seem to take the four songs mentioned above and alter them slightly, they’re not necessarily bad, just rather average and quite forgettable. But, whilst this album may not be totally up to scratch, it’s a step in the right direction as the band have brought some much needed pace to the forefront of many of the songs; if they can just tweak what they’ve done here, we may get something special in the future.
Overall, though, Deathstar Rising is a solid display of melodic death metal, it shows, with clarity, that Before the Dawn are capable of bringing out a genuinely impressive album, they’ve just not quite managed it yet; Deadlight and Soundscape of Silence were both strong albums but Before the Dawn are still waiting on that career defining album that lifts them to the next level. If you’re a fan of Amorphis, Katatonia or Soilwork, then there’s a good chance you’ll like some of what you hear here, just don’t expect to be blown away.
For Fans of: Amorphis, Katatonia and Soilwork
Album Highlights: Remembrance, Unbroken and Deathstar
Check out Deathstar, the lead single off the album, which can be viewed below: