Sound — 9
Bloodshot Dawn is a blend of many different styles of extreme metal. They combine technical death like Beyond Creation, melodic death like Scar Symmetry, as well as some thrash and progressive elements. They use 7-string/5-string guitars and bass and have three vocalists. While this may be a stretch, their lead vocalist has a growl tone that could be considered a deeper version of Matt Heafey of Trivium's harsh vocals. Despite the similarities, his vocals are very distinct and unique. The other two vocalists vaguely remind me of Cannibal Corpse's later works (not nearly as unique, as the lead vocals). Onto the guitars and bass... Wow. I've listened to this album from front to back multiple times and could not find a single major fault in the string section of this album. The strings are aggressive and fast when they need to be, slow and powerful at times, and the melodies of the guitars soar and dance over the aggression beneath them. The drums rarely let up throughout the album, but are still varied enough to be interesting.
Track by track:
01. "Beckoning Oblivion": Starts out with an orchestral intro, followed by the band joining with a march-like build-up, going into intricate guitar work with blast beats abounding, followed by a melodic death guitar verse riff. The remainder of the song is a wonderful balance of heavy and melody.
02. "Dedication to a Dead Cause": The second shortest song on the album. A very to-the-point song with heavy verses and a soaring, melodic chorus. As with many of the songs on the album, there is a very memorable solo with plenty of intricacy. A very good song overall.
03. "Forlorn World": A very thrash, Exodus-esque intro. Lots of sinister tremolo-picking and "chugging" to be found in this song. The pre-chorus of the song is very technical, but almost seems out of place. The following solo and unison after the chorus more than make up for the awkwardness beforehand. Overall, probably the heaviest song on the album.
04. "Godless": This is the song that made this band click for me. The opening breakdown followed by the syncopated thrashy riff, then followed by the menacing tremolo-picked transition into a technical verse riff still blows my mind. The chorus of this song is larger than life, too. The second half of the song is something special, though. I won't spoil anything though. I encourage the reader to listen to this song to really understand what this album is about.
05. "Vision": A very Nevermore-esque song in the guitar-work, while still retaining the unique sound that Bloodshot has. Another highlight of this album along with "Godless." This song is a five-minute shred fest with a very catchy (for death metal, that is) chorus.
06. "Sentient Disease": This song took time to catch my attention. Probably due to it following the two best songs on the album. A very rhythm-heavy song and more of a straightforward death metal tune. The outro breakdown was a very nice addition though.
07. "The Quantum Apocalypse": This one caught my attention pretty quick. The intro is very odd, with oddly placed guitar harmonics that remind me of Gojira. It then builds up with a very simple, but effective gallop rhythm before going into the verse. Think "Raining Blood." The highlight of this song is the chorus. Any fan of Scar Symmetry's lead guitar work will appreciate the lead guitar on this song. Very futuristic and spacey sounding.
08. "Sickening Dogma": Heavy verses, melodic chorus, shreddy solo, effective breakdown that works with the song (metalcore bands take note). Not really much to say about this one. Still a good enough song, however.
09. "Illusion Aesthetic": Another by-the-numbers Bloodshot song, but with some interesting features like the futuristic tapping about halfway through. Another mindblowing solo on this one (it's really something I've come to expect from these guys). The chorus on this one is a lot more relaxed and immerses the listener.
10. "Prototype": Just a simple intro to the next song. One of the prettier moments on the album.
11. "Archetype": A very effective closer to the album. The sweep picking in the intro is stupefying. Heavy verses with a melodic chorus, along with a thrashy interlude. This song doesn't sound very exciting in writing, but is definitely one of the stronger songs on the album.
Lyrics — 8
Bloodshot Dawn had three vocalists on this album: the two guitarists and the drummer. The ability to deliver lead vocals while playing instruments is an impressive enough feat, but when three members are doing it while playing very complex music, it's pretty inspiring. The lyrics follow typical themes for death metal (life/death, religion, science, personal troubles, etc.), but with an edge of intelligence that doesn't seem too overbearing or "try-hard"; not often seen by many bands in the genre. Many of the lines feel very personal and filled with emotion, though none of the lyrics truly shine and stand out. Overall, the lyrics are great for what they are, but nothing truly special.
Sample from "Beckoning Oblivion":
"Now cast out fears of the past/
To move forward from what was then, to what will be
/Fortune comes from conscious choice/Who we are is not written in our blood
Destiny waits/We choose our own path/Yet share the same end/This beckoning oblivion."
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, this album is interesting and solid from start to finish. There are some points on this album that left me speechless, while there were some moments that felt a little recycled, albeit still solid. I'd absolutely recommend this for anyone into metal, and perhaps even somebody new to the genre.
Pros: Great production, fantastic songwriting and variety, inspiring guitar-work.
Cons: Some songs feel a little underwhelming and don't stand out among the stellar tracks.
Recommended tracks are "Godless," "Vision," and "Beckoning Oblivion."