Just Before Dawn
Precis Innan Gryningen

Just Before Dawn is a multinational super group of sorts. It was formed by Blood Mortized guitarist Anders Biazzi with old school death metal mercenary Rogga Johanssen (Revolting, Megascavenger, Paganizer, etc.) providing the vocals. However, the project snowballed and a bunch of other vocalists from old school death metal acts got involved and as a result this monstrous debut album became an album with 8 songs featuring 7 vocalists!

Joining Revolting Rogga is Jonas Lindblood (Puteraeon), Mr. Hitchcock (Zombiefication), Gustav Myrin (Blood Mortized), Dennis Johansson (Plästerd, Headstoned), Ralf Hauber (Revel in Flesh) and Tony Freed (Godhate). So by looking at the lineup you can get a pretty good idea of what Just Before Dawn sounds like – yeah just a little bit of Swedish Death Metal going on here. However, Just Before Dawn isn’t a simple Entombed worshiping clone, they actually take a large dose of their sound from Bolt Thrower and Hail of Bullets – both sound wise and theme wise, as Just Before Dawn is fully dedicated to all things World War II

Featuring a killer mid range buzz saw guitar tone that’s part Grave, part Asphyx and a steady mid paced trundle that imbues Bolt Thrower to a panzer crushed tee, Just Before Dawn isn’t a technical monster and rarely goes past a steady, deliberate rumble. Allowing the hefty, meaty guitar tone to breathe, the songs are tank tracks, creaking and squeaking across the battle field – with nary a blast beat in sight. And while the ever so simple pace and structure may turn some folks off, if you enjoyed “General Winter” or “Berlin” from Hails of Bullets‘ debut …Of Frost and War as well as the likes of classic Bolt Thrower numbers like “Cenotaph” or “World Eater”, then Just Before Dawn is for you. They even add some of the somber solos and melodies in the background that imbue the title track from For Victory, just listen to “Raped Soil”.

Even with 7 vocalists you’d be hard pressed to tell who is who, as they all have a similar gruff bellow that complements the 8 songs, songs that really don’t jump out or even have a standout, but all contain a methodical plod and lope that’s as steady and crushing as a Tiger II. Throw in a number of typically war-y samples (explosions, machine guns, sonar pings, etc) and the likes of “As Death Breaks the Surface”, “Under Wheels of Death”, the somber aforementioned “Raped Soil” and closer “The World Burning” all deliver monolithic, deliberate salvos of heavy artillery rather than random, chaotic automatic fire or carpet bombing.

This a huge, patient album that churns and trundles with hefty menace. And that is also its small setback, in that each of the tracks has a similar, sometimes nearly doom gait, and none of the songs really peak, and neither does the album ultimately. I kept waiting for that “The Rack” or “Rotting in the Void” (from Revel In Flesh‘s latest album) like epic to blow me away and drop my jaw, but it never comes, instead being purposefully singular in all 8 tracks’ dynamic and delivery. Still, this blows the likes of Jungle Rot, Entrenched and other so called ‘war metal’ away and if you are still lamenting the loss of Bolt Thrower, I could think of no worse act to sub in and deliver the war mongering death metal goods (unless the new Humiliation album is as good as I hope it is).

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 8th, 2013

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