Dawnbringer - In Sickness and In Dreams
Battle Kommand Records
Thrash/NWOBHM/black protometal
14 songs (24'32")
Release year: 2006
Battle Kommand Records
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

I am so glad I had the time to get to Dawnbringer among the sizable promo pile that always seems to accumulate on my desk towards the year’s end. I almost constantly give myself a resolution not to do that, yet the reality of life is many things go undetected under my personal radar. For that not to happen to you, trust me with this review, it is not the length of Dawnbringer that makes it so worthwhile. Only 25 min or so long, yet I have had this album practically on replay over the last two weeks. The fact it came out only in November will definitely have people missing it for their 2006 lists, and that would be a shame, as In Sickness and In Dreams is as close as it gets to unadulterated underground breath of fresh air. I know that Chris Black, the mastermind of Dawnbringer, and Azentrius, the owner of Battle Kommand Records and the man behind Nachtmystium, are close, with Chris Black lending his bass to some of Nachtmystium releases. There is no doubt that Azentrius is happy to help a friend, releasing In Sickness and In Dreams, but the truth is In Sickness and In Dreams competes with Nachtmystium’s own Instinct:Decay for the label’s top 2006 release. True friends, however, never feel threatened by their friends’ talents …

Just like famous Mussorgsky piano suite Pictures from the Exhibition In Sickness and In Dreams does not even consist of full-fledged songs. These are sketches and riff ideas, some tracks are basically transitions (Under No Flag) or simply quick musings on funeral march chords (Death in Time). In no way I am insinuating that Chris Black is the next coming of the famous Russian composer, but here is one talented individual reminding many of us why we love metal. This is dirty raw do-it-yourself low budget production out of someone’s garage, with one major difference being that this someone knows what he is doing. This is styleless proto-metal at its best.

In this release Dawnbringer covers a multitude of styles. The album is bookended by stoned out opener Scream and Run and abruptly ending no less doom rock No Answer. The Snitch is perhaps Celtic Frost influenced, and ominous You Get Nothing reminds of Darkthrone blasting and droning minimalism. The thrash lovers will be gaga over unbelievably catchy Anomie and Hell is a Desert. If Iron Maiden wants a reminder of how original NWOBHM sounded, all they have to do is to sample There and Back and Endless Guilt. 11:58 and Midnight suite are basically Judas Priest inspired, with some Blind Guardian bard acoustic stuffed in between. Whatever the style, the tribal moody dance that is Hell is a Desert, or folky with King Diamond-like lyrics Attack of the Spiders, Dawnbringer is incredibly authentic, never overstays its welcome and leaves me longing for more.

Chris Black writes all of the music for Dawnbringer, lays down the drum and bass tracks, sings all of the parts, but invites Scott Hoffman for rhythm guitar performance and fellow Pharaohist Matt Johnsen for some old school NWOBHM style solos (There and Back, No Answer). (For those who do not know Chris Black plays drums with Pharaoh). In Dawnbringer Chris’ vocals are mostly muffled and hollow, with a higher pitch on 11:58 and Mignight (the suite is after all Judas Priest styled, but Chris never strains himself or thinks he is emulating Halford).

These 25 min may not seem like much, although the sheer amount of tasteful variety impresses. I guess I am in love with this, because I’d love to be Chris Black, to be that person who goes into his own garage and comes up with this collection of riffs. I want to tap to the rhythm of it, I want to air guitar it. When I listen to Dawnbringer I experience one more time that feeling of complete exhilaration that got me into metal 22 years ago. This is the private feeling that I know of something truly enjoyable, something not many other people will ever discover or be able to comprehend. Take advantage of me sharing Dawnbringer with you and get yourself a copy.

Killing Songs :
Anomie, Hell is a Desert, There and Back, Attack of the Spiders, Endless Guilt, No Answer
Alex quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Dawnbringer that we have reviewed:
Dawnbringer - XX reviewed by Alex and quoted 56 / 100
Dawnbringer - Into the Lair of the Sun God reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
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