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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Before the Dawn

The Ghost

Review by Greg Olma

One of the cool things about reviewing music is that I get exposed to so much new material. Since American radio has all but abandoned any form of heavy music, I have to rely on other ways of hearing what is out there. My chances of hearing Before the Dawn on the radio (in the States) is next to impossible. This is the uphill struggle many great bands face when trying to crack the US market. When I received this disk to review, I immediately threw it in my CD player to see what they are all about. Before the Dawn's The Ghost is the type of album that makes you research the band on the web. It really is that good. Go check out their website if you don't believe me. The guitar playing has a great fat sound while still retaining some subtleties and the vocals vary between the new "cookie monster" style and the more traditional vocal delivery. If you are a fan of Evergrey and Hammerfall, you will be doing yourself a favor by getting this CD.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disappear
The disc opens up with an Evergrey sound to it. The vocals are a mixture of "cookie monster" and "clean" singing which gives it a really cool sound. The guitar solo is also well done by not overplaying the song. More musicians should take a page out of Before the Dawn's playbook and play for the song and not over it.
Repentance
I hear a bit of Hammerfall on this cut. It could be because of the double bass drums but either way, it is a good tune.
Fade Away
This track starts off with some nice keyboard melodies over the riffing. Some additional clean vocals area added in the chorus which give it a nice touch; like icing on the cake.
Scar
Of all of the songs on this disc, this one sounds the most average. It's not that it is a bad track, but the rest of the album is much better.
Angels Tombstone
Just like "Fade Away," this cut starts off with some good keyboard melodies thrown on top of the riffing. There is a nice groove throughout the song and the mixture of new and old school vocals give it that unique sound.
Black Dawn
The structure is very old school but the delivery is definitely new metal. The vocals go back and forth between growling verses and singing choruses. This is one of the standout tunes on this album.
Enemy
This is a plodding rocker that picks up as soon as the singing kicks in. I really like the way the vocals go between the two styles. It's songs like this that make "Scars" seem average.
Stormbringer
That Evergrey sound makes its presence felt again on this track. Once they get to the chorus, the double bass drums kick in and give it a bit of a Hammerfall sound. Also during the chorus, both vocals styles are sung on top of each other. There are many great tunes on the disc but I find myself returning to this one the most, so I guess it wins as the top track.
Ghost Town
The guitar intro is very Judas Priest-ish but the comparison ends there. The rest of the tune is very new sounding with a bit of rap style vocals added towards the end. It is a nice mix of different styles and it works.
...Nowhere
"Epic" is the word I would use to describe this cut. There are many different parts with some of them almost sounding like heavy movie scores. It ends by fading out to a tribal drum beat. I like the fact that the album finishes on this cut because it is definitely a high point on the disc but at the same time, this piece might almost fit better somewhere in the middle.
 
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