Just Before Dawn
Tides of Blood

You’d think the UKs Memoriam, featuring Bolt Thrower’s own Karl Willets and Andrew Whale would be the natural heir apparent to Bolt Thrower and their trundling form of war themed death metal, but it appears Sweden’s all star troupe Just Before Dawn are actually the more fitting replacement, even more so with another Bolt Thrower growler alum (though only for one album) fully in the fray in Dave Ingram, who was more famous for his time in Benediction.

While the band still has an ample cast of guest vocalists and musicians added to the core of Anders Biazzi (Gods Forsaken, ex Amon Amarth, ex Blood Mortized), Johnny Peterson (Wombbath, Gods Forsaken, Henry Kane) and Brynjar Helgetun (Gods Forsaken, ex Ribspreader, Megascavenger) , Ingram, who has appeared as a guest on prior JBD albums, is now a full time vocalist, delivering primary vocals on 7 of the 10 songs on Tides of Blood. He’s helped out on numerous tracks by the likes of Teddy Moller (Flagellation, Loch Vostok), Joakim Mikiver (Tormention) , Matias Nastolin (Decaying), Samuel Englund (Wombbath), Ralk Hauber (Revel in Flesh) and Mattias Parkkila (Malfeitor) as well as a host of typically somber guest leads and solos.

You knew after hearing  the Bolt Thrower medley “We Will Remember Them”, from the band’s 2017 compilation On the History of Destruction, that the band were upping the Bolt Thrower worship. But hearing Ingram on the likes of “Day of Days”, “Formations at the Rising Dawn”, “Bombs over Bremen”,  “Battle for the Bridge”  and standout “Spirit of the Blitz” only further cements it. Combined with the increased, artillery spewing, sample filled, spot on,  Bolt Throwing homage the band has nailed, it recalls 2001s Honour Valour Pride, the lone album Ingram appeared on. And on non Ingram tracks like “Market Garden”, “Tides of Blood” or “Civilian Alliance” are still killer, mid paced, imposing, lumbering war machines.

I’m giving Tides of Blood far more listens that Memoriam’s hastily released second album, The Silent Vigil (which is a bit underwhelming), and with the added cohesion of Ingram as a full time vocalist, Just Before Dawn sound more like a full time band and not just a project or guest filled novelty, even if it comes dangerously close to cover band territory.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
June 19th, 2018

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