Canadian Metal/hard rock band Until Dawn hail from Fort McMurray, Alberta. It's not a place that's exactly known for its musical excellence but that isn't something to discourage these guys, on the contrary, and with their latest release, 'Horizon', the follow to 2011s debut self titled full length, they could well put Fort McMurray on the music map.
They started working on 'Horizon' two years ago and the title reflects that as a touring band they are always looking into the horizon, towards the next show. This time and effort is immediately apparent on your first listen, with a polished, high quality finish to all aspects of the end product.
Sound-wise it is a mix of modern Metal and classic rock, brimming with intense energy, catchy guitar riffs, creating a sound that should appeal to a broad spectrum of listeners. It is mainstream enough to have wide appeal but intense and ballsy enough to also appeal to the melodic metal fans and with a sound that would, I think, translate well live because of the high levels of energy and excitement encompassed within it.
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Thirteen tracks in total, all highly listenable, with a few standout tracks that made a real impact on me. One of these tracks, 'This Fallen Fortress', was released prior to the album as a single and expresses what it was like for the band trying to break out and showcase their music to a larger audience and of gaining strength through confronting life's obstacles.
It's a track that sat well with me from the offset, it has a fabulous bass opener and it's powerful, as are a lot of the tracks on the album and was one of a couple that inexplicably made the hair stand up on the back of my neck, as did 'A Conjurer Of Cheap Tricks', which is awash with powerful riffs and carries a strong message.
Other noteworthy tracks are 'Roamers And Lurkers', exciting, with a catchy memorable riff, 'Strings Of The Dammed' with a slower tempo, a bit of a groove and great picking elements, 'DNR', a gutsy and powerful ballad that is lyrically harrowing, about the lonely and confused end of someone's life and finally 'Horizon', the title track which has a slower tempo to the greater part that is balanced against quickly delivered vocals with an up-tempo chorus and a reflective quality.
Across all the tracks the vocals are excellent, harsh, gravelly edged, yet melodic, powerful and lyrically crystal clear, also on 'The Red Sun Rises This Day' when the vocals take on an emotive touch they are strong and not soppy. Also the guitar work is stunning throughout with a lot of variety and a good amount of tasty solos.
Something really struck a chord with me with this album, despite it being much less extreme than my usual face ripping brand of music. It may not be extreme but it is very ballsy and great to listen to; a quality release.