Album: Vanquished Horrible Night
Label: Vision of God Records
Release Date: 08/10/2020
Country: United States
Dawnbreaker returns with their third album in three years titled Vanquished Horrible Night. For those unfamiliar with the band, Dawnbreaker is a Christian Death/Black band that embraces the more combative aspects of the religion while exploring the various microgenres within Extreme metal. While faith is at the heart of the music here, it isn’t overbearing and never interferes with the music and can easily be ignored as there are no sermons or prayers to cut the flow of the music. Vanquished Horrible Night follows the Symphonic Black metal path paved by the likes of Emperor and early Dimmu Borgir with some influence from the Swedish Black metal bands like Sacramentum and especially Dissection.
Here the lyrics deal with a story inspired by Castlevania as a Christian warrior is set to combat supernatural demonic forces. The music is in the Symphonic Black metal style but the orchestral elements don’t lead the music as the riffs are always the focal point of each song. Instead of constantly bombarding the listener with orchestral scores, the synths explore from a variety of sounds like the lush tones of early Burzum or the dense keyboard sound of Emperor with some surprising sound effects colouring the songs at times. Riffs are a barrage fast aggressive yet surprisingly melodic Black metal riffs that are cut up with some Thrash and Death metal riffs to keep things moving. The vocals for the most part stick to the mid pitch rasp that is typical of USBM bands while adding some some higher screams and a few variations during the climatic passages. Evil’s Bane has a fantastic sung chorus and showcases some growls for added aggression. The production is very clear and allows all the instruments to shine through without dominating each other. The rhythm section is serviceable and is only there to support the riffs and keeps out of the way for the most except for crushing death metal riffs that come up every so often.
The album is based around the relationship between the synths and the guitars. Dawnbreaker keep this interesting by not using the synths to play similar melodies to the guitars but rather to counter them by using opposing melodies in order to create a more complete vision as the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. For those looking for some Symohonic metal with some bite, Vanquished Horrible Night offers just that without ever sacrificing the melody or the grandeur found within this style.
Listen to the full album below: