If you’re not afraid to be honest with yourself about the real depth of life, then treat your ears to Dead Dawn’s self-titled album Dead Dawn. It takes a long meandering trip through the dark and heavy, using gritty guitar melodies and haunting vocals to create an atmosphere of deep gravity. It actually took me a little time to get used to the skillful monotony of the vocals that sometimes sound like Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth (except for a few instances, they stayed in the same range) but when I got a feel for their purpose and how they added to the overall sound I came to love them. The drums throughout were consistently supportive, doing a great job of supplementing the intriguing sound without overpowering it.
The lyrics are a major focus of many of the songs, each line carefully written though mostly kept simple. It’s that simplicity that gives meaning to the words. “Dear Papi,” a very soulful epithet, is a great example of this. “Live Near You” is another good one, with the added attribute of an extremely catchy chorus that’s actually a lot of fun to hum along to.
Weaved within the fibers of this album is an intense groove, which accentuates the darkness and gives it an added touch and zest that otherwise could not be attained. Even when bombastic, the melodies rock gently and are almost cathartic, particularly for those who already enjoy intense music. Some of the songs employ a ‘smooth verse, hard chorus’ technique that really suits this band well.
Each song is even further supplemented by a healthy dose of soul. This music sounds like it was created because it needed to be created, not because it was forced or would sell records, and it really makes all the difference in the general feel.
My favorite song on the album, hands down, was “Circus Song” – it was the song that made me fall in love with Dead Dawn’s sound. It felt like it was written in the deepest of gravity, with the heaviest of cement weighing each second down, yet it still had a touch of whimsy to balance things out. I loved the harsh, hollow shrieks in the chorus as well; they were rather impressive given the sound I’d come to recognize from the vocalist, and I wouldn’t have minded hearing them elsewhere too (though they may not have made the same impact).
There is a very solid place in this world for heavy music that hits right in the center of the chest, and Dead Dawn have managed to loudly claim this space for themselves. This is more than heavy for the sake of being heavy; it’s heavy because that’s how life is, and that’s how these ladies view the world, and quite frankly I find it very easy to identify and agree with them. I hope to hear a lot more from this talented band.
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