Profound Lore (2012)
Bassist, drummer, singer, and songwriter – these are only a few hats Chris Black wears within Dawnbringer. “Into The Lair Of The Sun God” is a concept album broken up into nine chapters, with each song only receiving a Roman Numeral title. Joining Chris on this musical journey for guitar parts and soloing duties are fellow High Spirits live guitarist Scott Hoffman (who handles rhythm and melody guitars) while the solo parts are taken on by Pharaoh guitarist Matt Johnsen and Bill Palko.
The follow up to 2010’s critical acclaimed “Nucleus”, Chris’ confidence in his skill set and knowledge of hard rock/metal in general gives the listener a variety of moods and dynamics to take in with this 43 minute album. “V” for instance contains some thick guitar harmonies and emotive soloing that seems to bridge the gap between classic Pink Floyd of the late 70’s with Boston during their “Third Stage” years- all the while with Chris using subtle progressive bass notions at doom crawl pacing. Only to be followed up by the epic guitar/organ interplay on “VI” that siphons out the best in Rainbow, Blue Öyster Cult and others of that 70’s ilk.
I’m sure many will pick up on the mid-tempo and above Maiden reference points musically on “I” and “IV” especially, but there’s a nice power burst and back and forth guitar echo panning within “II” that gives Dawnbringer that Euro-edge that most American acts can’t seem to get across within their music. Chris’ melodies and normal delivery wouldn’t be classified in the upper Halford, Dio, or Dickinson ranks- he knows his lower range is much more expressive and as a result injects more of a forceful personal touch that keeps the listener satisfied. And his intuitive sense to know the right pacing on drums and bass keeps your ears pinned for the next riff change- a rarity in the traditional metal field.
Take the time to seek out and read through the lyrics- it is well worth the investment as the epic journey of a man’s struggle between triumph and tragedy unfolds through these 9 songs. Those who believe everything has been done in the guitar harmony or metal riff world need to take in some of the spellbinding leads from Matt and Bill on “IV” and the emotive, doom-laden “IX” closer.
I really didn’t think “Nucleus” could be topped- but Dawnbringer prove that creatively they are just reaching the tip of the metal iceberg. This one has been hard to remove from incessant airplay- “Into The Lair Of The Sun God” will hit many a top year end critical list, including mine.
Rating: 6 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe