Friday, October 1, 2004

Review: Dawn - Veil of Sorrow (2003)

Dawn [ MySpace ]
Veil of Sorrow

When I first stumbled across Dawn I was more than a little intrigued. Here was a band from Northern Ireland, heavily influenced by doom metal, with a female vocalist. I of course began to draw mental comparisons to The Gathering, Theatre of Tragedy, and the like without even having heard audio samples from the band. When I received a copy of Dawn's debut EP, Veil of Sorrow, my preconceived notions of what this band would sound like were quite frankly blown away. Drawing heavily on the somber doom atmosphere of bands like the aforementioned, this particular quintet takes their sound a step further by incorporating elements from several styles of metal. Lead guitarist Ian Harper belts out both traditionally styled solos and the frantic fretwork often found on black metal releases, not to mention exceptionally catchy hooks which are prevalent throughout. As if the remarkable quality of the musicianship wasn't enough, Dawn sets themselves apart because of the sensational voice of Amy Robinson. Possessing a unique tone among female metal vocalists, Amy contrasts the guitar heaviness with an innocent lilt that simply has to be heard.

With only four tracks, Veil of Sorrow still manages to traverse a wide range of style and emotion. The lead-off, and title, track sets Ian's skills on the table immediately. A haunting riff backed by the ominous bass of Robert Bramford gives the song a ponderous quality, but Amy's voice soars as she hooks into you and forces you to sing along - particularly after downing a few Strongbows ;) Amy's voice does have a bit of a childlike quality, and I imagine some may find her to be a tad shrill at times, but for me she is altogether captivating. "No Forgiveness" is my favorite track on Veil of Sorrow. Here Bramford's bass branches out to deliver some quality lines, Ian delivers a handful of leads as expressive as they are stellar, and the extremely infectious choruses bring it all together. The twin guitar opening to "Lifetime Addiction" is more than a slight nod to the great NWOBHM bands, while the rumbling skinwork of Thomas Mullan hints at what he's capable of. Closing out Veil of Sorrow is "Priceless Gift", and here the band reaches into the realm of extreme metal to add yet another dimension to their sound. Ian delivers some excessively rabid leads while Mullen brings the double-kick to bear. Heavy on the bass, the final track of Veil of Sorrow wraps up with significant doom overtones.

Dawn's EP can best be surmised as hook-laden traditionally-inspired doom metal with captivating female vocals - a formula for success rarely heard and sure to catapult this young Irish band into the global metal spotlight. Watch for their full-length debut on Lone Wolf Music in February.

Track Listing
1 Veil of Sorrow 6:00
2 No Forgiveness 6:09
3 Lifetime Addiction 5:37
4 Priceless Gift 5:58

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