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ALBUM OF THE MONTH
Lost Ghosts
Red Scalp
Full Review and Video Clip
Rotation Radar
"The Hollow Moon"
by Galactic Gulag
Instrumental stoner rock
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Sound Preview Lab
Sound Preview Lab
On The Road
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Dawnbringer
(Night of the Hammer)
2014
Staff Rating: Crank this to 7.9 of 11
Genre:
Metal, Progressive rock
Sounds Like:
Blue Oyster Cult, Flotsam and Jetsam, Dio
Chicago based Dawnbringer is a true grass roots self-made metal act that has flown way under the radar. Creator, vocalist, instrumentalist Chris Black began the vision back in the mid to late 90s and the band has never hit commercial fame and steered the holistic small label path. Chris Black has achieved more notoriety via his side projects Nachtmystium, Pharaoh, and High Spirits.

Band Members:
Chris Black- Vocals (lead), drums, keyboards, bass
Bill Palko- Guitars
Matt Johnsen- Guitars (Lead)
Scott Hoffman- Guitars (Rhythm)

Night of the Hammer
is a modern day homage to late 70s and early 80s progressive metal acts. Most notably the album exudes a Blue Oyster Cult feel. Not the Blue Oyster Cult mainstream tracks but more of the less known progressive vibe. Listening to Night of the Hammer will whisk you away to that aura that was BOC - Fire of Unknown Origin (1981) and Mirrors (1979). You will also hear splashes of Dio, Dokken and Rainbow along with an occasional infusion of classic grinding 90s grunge. No question Dawnbringer is a rare breed with their longevity and ability to stick with their classic metal platform.

Track Listing:
1. Alien - 3:36
2. The Burning of Home - 4:14
3. Nobody There - 4:43
4. Xiphias - 4:39
5. Hands of Death - 5:50
6. One-Eyed Sister - 4:13
7. Damn You - 3:43
8. Not Your Night - 2:07
9. Funeral Child - 4:10
10. Crawling Off to Die - 2:24

Our favorite tracks include "The Burning of Home," "Xiphias" and "Hands of Death".  The "Burning of Home" opens with vintage choir like vocals and really brings you back to the late 70s emergence of progressive metal and a Blue Oyster Cult aura. "Xifphias" has a jovial journeyman like feel. The swaying melodies are infectious and the guitar-work is classic and brilliant. Very difficult to pull off a "hey" chant these days, but Danwbringer makes it work. This track will really make you wonder if this track was a 70s remaster or original. "Hands of Death" will get you fist pumping, but in a good reflective way. Multi-layered guitar accompanied by a Dokken and Dio supergroup feel is down right heartwarming for metal lovers. We are curious if the band ever played the Sparks venue on Deer Park Long Island. A haven for late 70s/early 80s metal acts. "Nobody There" is probably the worst track on the album and falls a bit flat. Most of the other tracks also shine and bring the listener on a time machine back to this time when metal was beginning to develop crystals of progressive rock. Most of the tracks are mid-tempo and very melodic. On track eight, the band makes an unexpected turn with the two minute of death metal/doom as  "Not Your Night" becomes an interesting twist that actually works as the guitar solos tie back the metal vibe. Very cool closing track in "Crawling off To Die". Almost a funeral dirge that puts closure to Black's excellent song writing. The simplicity rings powerful.

Metal fans who want that late 70s and early 80s progressive vibe prior to the emergence of painful hair metal, should give this one a listen. Its quite refreshing to see a band of such longevity continue this classic metal sound and do it so well. - 1/23/2015

Standout Tracks: The Burning of Home, Nobody There, Xiphias, Hands of Death
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