Dawnbringer - Into the Lair of the Sun God
Profound Lore Records
NWOBHM 80s metal turning doom
9 songs (44'10")
Release year: 2012
Profound Lore Records
Reviewed by Alex

I have committed somewhat of an omission a couple of years ago not reviewing an album called Nucleus by a Chicago-based Dawnbringer, the band I was so happy to introduce to our readers in 2006 with In Sickness and in Dreams. Dawnbringer is a creation of Chris Black, also of Pharaoh and Superchrist, the bands I follow rather regularly, the man who was known as Professor Black on the pages of venerable but deceased Metal Maniacs. In Sickness and in Dreams was a series of sketches, more so than fully developed songs, and covered the breadth of Chris’ interests, going in places as diverse as black metal, yet all firmly rooted in the traditional 80s. Even more so, that album was very genuine need by somebody who cares about metal in general to put together a template from where to create further. Nucleus was an entirely more complete and focused album, and current Into the Lair of the Sun God is too. With tracks austerely listed as Roman numerals, Chris presents an intriguing concept of a young fighter, offended by the Sun’s arrogance enough to rise against it in an uneven battle only to fall a victim of his own deep misjudgment. Or this is how I understand the lyrics the way I can hear them without a booklet anyway.

Teased by what sounds like Bathory’s The Lake intro, I opens up with a perfect union of bass, guitars and drumming all gelled into an exemplary riff, bound to etch onto any metalhead’s memory, begging to be played over and over again. Maideny flowy melody, and noodly almost tremolo leads barely touching on early black metal infatuation, this song is an immediate grabber and a standout of the album. Add Chris’ not so polished, but completely from the heart vocals, a certain mix of Mike Skalzi and Quorthon, and songs like I are only possible to come falling off the pen who knows metal, loves it and respects its history and traditions. There is a lot of this feeling on Into the Lair of the Sun God, and what I have heard from Dawnbringer in general. III touches on the same territory, but its gallop has a mid-Eastern feel and does not hook as much as I, while it also injects some epicness around 3:20 in its sound. Every respected NWOBHM band would love to have the syncopated riffs of IV, with the vibrant bass pushing that song into another dimension. II is downright thrashy, the crossover between Sodom and Slough Feg, the supercatchy protometal Dawnbringer does so well.

And then, with V, Into the Lair of the Sun God saws itself in two. Perhaps the album’s concept calls for this. Perhaps after the original throwing down the gauntlet, the protagonist in the album takes a little break with a high-school WASPy balladeering in V, the song that doesn’t work entirely for me, although I appreciate the way it shows off exalted euphoric feeling. From there things go stoner rock on VI, Withcraft-like riff and a psychedelic organ, only to end downright doomy from there on out. VII is heroic early doom of Bathory and Manowar’s Battle Hymns, its riffs repetitive, resigned to the hero’s inevitable fate. VIII continues on with a monotonous gallop, leads brought over the top, the combo fitting of equal parts Grand Magus and Indianapolis school of doom. IX brings no respite, slower still, professing the end.

At first, I hated how this review came out, as I despise me (and other writers) pretty much resorting to writing a track-by-track description, giving standard stock references, losing the overall 2-3 punchlines with which an album can be described. But then I realized that for Into the Lair of the Sun God, perhaps, this style was exactly the right way to go, as it may have captured the mood and direction of this album best, so I am going to leave it unchanged. A speedy and audacious beginning ending with doomy despondent end is what awaits those who dare the impossible, to kill the sun. Yet, people continue to dare, because if they stopped, life perhaps would seize to have a meaning. So here is to those who dare, Dawnbringer and their champion in Into the Lair of the Sun God certainly do.

Killing Songs :
I, II, IV
Alex quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Dawnbringer that we have reviewed:
Dawnbringer - XX reviewed by Alex and quoted 56 / 100
Dawnbringer - In Sickness and In Dreams reviewed by Alex and quoted 87 / 100
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