It was only last year that Melodic Death Metallers (or Melancholic Scandinavian Metal as main-man Tuomas describes it) Before The Dawn released their previous effort “Deathstar Rising”; an album that got some fairly positive reviews. Since then there have been some changes in the bands camp, with clean vocalist and bassist Lars and drummer Atte leaving the fold on both personal and musical reasons. With such changes, plus how busy Tuomas is with other projects its quite remarkable that a new album has arrived in such a short space of time, and with the strength of this album, the title “Phoenix Rising” is a very apt statement.
One of hordes of bands that fit into the melodic death metal camp, and like a vast amount of these bands Before The Dawn are not a groundbreaking band by any means. In my opinion as well, even though it got decent reviews, “Deathstar Rising” was not a hugely exciting album and was fairly forgettable. It would appear that the changes in the band however have had a great effect as “Rise Of The Phoenix” is a lot stronger. In some cases on the album it comes across as a lot fiercer than previously, especially on the likes of the title track which has a much thrashier feel to it. For me it has a rawer feel to it as well; despite still having a good production it just doesn’t come across as quite so polished as before. Best of all the songs are just much more immediate, with hooks grabbing on first listen which they just didn’t do on “Deathstar Rising”.
One noticeable change here as well is that, with the departure of Lars, there are no more clean vocals, which in this case improves proceedings. The clean vocal parts on the previous album weren’t the strongest part of it in my opinion, so the lack of them here is very welcoming. It is always quite impressive when a band can get through important lineup changes and come out intact or stronger, and how quickly Before The Dawn have done so and improved so substantially is very commendable.