Dawnbringer- Into the Lair of the Sun God

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Monday, July 9, 2012

Chris Black sure likes to keep busy. When not working with Pharaoh, High Spirits or Superchrist Black fronts heavy metal band Dawnbringer which has brought a darker tonality to the traditional riffs one would expect from heavy metal. For its newest album Into the Lair of the Sun God the group has made an attempt at a seamless listening experience and narrative, ensuring that each of the songs flows into the next to create a release that is best listened to as a whole. This direction has proven to be quite successful as the arrangements feel stronger and Dawnbringer stands out even more than before.

Black’s vocals have always sparked a bit of conversation, as his voice is fairly gruff and not the higher falsetto that listeners typically associate with heavy metal. For me, this has always made the groups that he is involved in distinguishable as it gives them a different feel but I did find that on Dawnbringer’s material Black does attempt to push his voice a bit higher than he has before. His performance on Into the Lair of the Sun God is stellar, as in addition to hitting some slightly higher pitches the gruffer vocals retain a good deal of energy and grab your attention. The production values are clean and polished but there is a somewhat subdued approach present, allowing the vocals to fill the gaps in the sound and steal the spotlight on more than one occasion. While those who weren’t converted to Black’s vocal style in the past probably still won’t be won over, those who enjoy a slightly gruffer delivery will find a lot to like.

While the vocal work is solid, the riffs are what really makes Into the Lair of the Sun God grab you. Expanding even further on the direction showcased on Nucleus, this time the instrumentalists have gone even further into old school heavy metal territory and even pulled some 70s style riffs out complete with organ parts. There are plenty of catchy riffs to go around, and Dawnbringer is able to strike a nice balance between faster numbers and slower ballads all while tying the songs together. This isn’t just a case of the band naming all of the songs numbers (which they have done here), as the riffs will often flow right into each other and listeners may not initially be aware of when they have moved from one to the next. Although the production tends to lean towards sparseness rather than the bombastic, there is still a good deal of power present in the riffs and this gives the release just the right amount of energy.

Into the Lair of the Sun God is good stuff, and it’s hard to believe that Chris Black and the rest of the band has been able to put this much effort and attention into the album when almost all of them are in other groups that have released material this year. When it comes to traditional heavy metal with a 70s edge, Dawnbringer has an edge over many of the others and is a band worth knowing about. Now it’s time for me to give the new Superchrist some attention to see if Black has put out three stellar albums in 2012 between this and the new Pharaoh.


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