Sacred Dawn - A madness within 4/5

Reviewed: 5-1-11


1. The untold story
2. What you did to me
3. Demonlover
4. A madness within
5. Summer of treason
6. It shall be
7. Delirium
8. The decision
9. Wrongfully accused
10. Dawn of the day

Sacred Dawn's 2nd CD is a great improvement over their debut, not only delivering an even more impressive metal experience, but engaging the listener with a fresh and original voice.

While trying to summarize the style of this Illinois band’s sophomore effort is difficult, as is always the case in something that's less derivative, imagine a mix between Dream Theater’s less ostentatious songs (“The untold story” reminds me of the classic “Space dye vest” before building into a more aggressive metal tempo), Savatage circa 'Handful of rain', and even the somber and aggressive brood of Opeth (“Dawn of the day”). This is a departure and evolution from their first CD, which held promise and innovation but didn’t appeal to me viscerally as much. 'A madness within' is better for that in every other aspect as well. If you read my prior review, that other CD wasn't paint by numbers by any stretch of the imagination, but this just comes together so much better, and with a much more focused and consistent identity.

The band's talent is obvious, evolved from lifetimes of different musical instruments and experience. Lothar Kelly is again on lead vocals and guitar, but his voice especially has a much stronger presence this time, clear, brooding and rich, perhaps even with a dash of Glen Danzig mixed into a more conventional “clear” metal singer in the middle range. “Mykull” (don’t ask me) is the new guitarist added to the mix, and together he and Lothar, they provide a sublime mix of more typical crunchy metal and evocative leads. Joey Vega (yes, I’m sure he gets some confused typos) provides the sonorous basslines that really set the backing tone for the CD, while Eddie Foltz (who provided the drums on David Shankle’s first DSG CD) demonstrates a wide range of stunning drum work, from the aggressive to the pensive. Long time pianist Brian Kim provides the keyboards, and, unlike some of his European brethren, the keyboards are used very effectively, but without distracting from the ultimate metal power of the music.

While it doesn't change my review, my score, or my recommendation, I have to point out the 3 empty tracks at the end of the CD, followed by a rather crass joke track, and while it might be impressive these guys can put something down like that as an afterthought... really, you, and this superb CD, are better than that, and that’s just not something I think you need to append to a work of art like this.

This CD won’t necessarily be something that will fill the need for straight-forward metal anthems or straight-ahead power metal, but its power, range, unique tone, and impressive delivery is likely to engage anyone who greatly enjoys any one or more of the above referenced bands.




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