Just Before Dawn – The Dead and Those About to Die EP Review

Just Before Dawn_The DeadSo, does anyone besides me miss Bolt Thrower? I mean, sure we have all those classic albums, but where are the new tales of battles lost and won? Since it seems those tales may never be told, we should be grateful Just Before Dawn picked up the flame thrower and continued in the legendary tank treads left by those U.K. fiends. With two albums of brootal war metal under their ammunition belts, Anders Biazzi (Blood Mortized, ex-Amon Amarth) and his merry marauders are back with a tasty little EP to satisfy the war mongering hordes. The Dead and Those About to Die is another heavy-as-fuck battering ram of death metal very much in the Bolt Thrower mode with nary a frill or fill. Adding to the bold flavor, this time there are hints of depressive black metal and vintage Swedish melo-death mixed in. The result is another pulverizing visit to Mr. Biazzi’s tooth rattling riff factory, and that’s always going to be time well spent.

Opener “Counterbattery” is the archetype Just Before Dawn tune in its straight for the throat, thundering death metal attack. It hits like a Panzer, aiming to flatten with huge, buzzy riffs, pounding drums and brutal vocals. It has that mid-tempo grind made famous by legendary albums like Realm of Chaos and War Master and it’s impossible not to love. “Outnumbered” is more of the same but bigger and more pummeling. It has a huge, punchy sound, the riffs are relentless and hammering and the vocals are powerful and nasty. Everything just clicks perfectly and the unsettled and discordant solo is the perfect gravy on this battle burger.

Elsewhere they incorporate some grim black metal atmosphere and influences on “Graves Without Crosses” with surprisingly effective results, and and “Into the Iron Mist” eases back on the bolt throwing to incorporate some interesting and entertaining Dark Tranquillity elements.

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All five tracks are solid and enjoyable and once again Mr. Biazzi shows why he’s one of the top riff smiths in metaldom. His style of writing walks the line between Amon Amarth epicness and lowbrow Swedish death and it always works like a brutal charm. New vocalist Jonny Pettersson is very impressive, offering a great death roar along with some blackened rasps and other assorted nastiness (especially on “Into the Iron Mist” where he seems to have a mental breakdown). Rogga Johansson (every band in Sweden) stops by for some guest vocals, as is required under Swedish law, and other guests pop in to deliver solos, some of which are excellent.

Any Biazzi project is guaranteed to be a quality proposition and this is no exception. 27 minutes of ponderous but catchy death metal is always welcome in the House of Steel and I’ve been spinning this pretty much nonstop for a week. Find this, suit up, gun up and join the battle. They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our war metal!

Rating: 3.5/5.0
Label: Chaos Records
Websites: facebook.com/JustBeforeDawnTheyCame
Releases Worldwide: November 30th, 2015

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