Just Before Dawn [International]
Just Before Dawn is yet another of those international extreme metal collaborations, and while I have neglected checking out their debut Precis Innan Gryningen, I felt compelled to give the band’s sophomore full length album The Aftermath a good listen after seeing the roster that appears on the album. With names such as Rogga Johansson, Dave Ingram and the likes appearing on the list, there is no way that The Aftermath can be a bad record.
Fitting to the themes of war and destruction, The Aftermath kicks off with Across the Battlefield, leaving the listener in the midst of the aftermath of a war. Things kick into high gear quickly enough with Lightning War, and the percussive, yet somewhat groovy riffs along with the double-pedalled bass that assault the listener’s ears quickly display the Bolt Thrower and Benediction influences that have gone into the songwriting. Yet Just Before Dawn is more than just a Bolt Thrower clone, with the vast experience that members of the band bring into the mix. Throughout the album there is a good dosage of Swedish death metal as well, and one can’t help but spot the Entombed and Dismember influences at times, especially that chunky riffing on songs like Incoming, aided by that abrasive guitar tone that is utilised throughout the record.
To spice things up further, the lead guitars on the album add to the overall listening experience, and these range from the somewhat melodic, yet mournful tunes that despair the pointless carnage that war brings, yet at times there is that almost Floridian, chaotic style that simulates the situation on the battlefield. And to ensure that The Aftermath is an album that leaves an impact long after it ends, the production on the album is stellar, without being overly modern. In particular, the bass is often clearly audible, adding to the crushing heaviness of the riffs on the album.
The Aftermath has left me thoroughly impressed, and one should expect nothing less than that, considering the calibre of the musicians that are involved in Just Before Dawn. Perhaps it is now time for me to revisit Precis Innan Gryningen and discover its magic.