The Swedish death metal war machine Just Before Dawn has already given the world two excellent albums (Precis innan gryningen (2013) and The Aftermath (2014)), and the first installment in a trilogy of EPs (2015’s The Dead and Those About To Die), and now JBD mastermind Anders Biazzi and a formidable battalion of allies are on the verge of launching their latest offensive — a new EP named The Ghosts of the Eastern Front. — and below you will find some thoughts about the EP as well as a teaser video with audio samples from the songs.
Like the first EP in the trilogy, this new one will be released on cassette tape by Till You Fukkin Bleed Records, and the songs on the cassette will also later be included on a new full-length release planned for later this year.
The Ghosts of the Eastern Front includes three tracks. Two of them are original songs — the title track and “Lower Dneiper Offensive” — and the last one is a “hidden” bonus on the cassette, a cover of the song “Ordered Eastward” by Hail of Bullets.
On all three songs, Anders Biazzi performs guitar and bass while his JBD bandmate Brynjar Helgetun (Crypticus, Johansson & Speckmann, Megascavenger, etc.) again handles the battery. And as he has done on all the previous releases, Biazzi has again enlisted an array of notable guests to provide guitar solos and vocals (in addition to participation by JBD vocalist Jonny Petterson). The line-up of vocalists and soloists on the EP is as follows:
“The Ghosts of the Eastern Front”
vocals: Rai Volters (Departed Souls)
solos: Matias Nastolin (Decaying), Eric Cutler (Autopsy)
“Lower Dneiper Offensive”
vocals: Marc Niederhagemann (Lifeless)
solos: Eric Cutler (Autopsy)
“Ordered Eastward” (Hail of Bullets cover)
vocals: David Nilsson (Feral), Jonny Petterson (JBD, Wombbath, Ashcloud), Jörgen Kristensen (Dead Awaken)
The new EP’s title track sets the stage with the sounds of gunfire and armored vehicles on the move — and then opens to the sound of huge, pounding rhythms and rumbling riffs, pierced by the first of two riveting solos. The mid-paced song is spine-shaking in its power, and Rai Volters‘ growls are warlike and bestial. But the song also delivers a slow, sinuous, eerie melody that’s freighted with sorrow, one that spawns images in the mind of the lost and restless souls of the Eastern Front rising up from their rough graves.
“Lower Dneiper Offensive” also begins with the sounds of battle — and Marc Niederhagemann’s wretched, agonized growl — soon followed by the massive death metal tank attack mounted by Biazzi and Helgetun. Eric Cutler turns in a series of searing, scintillating, wraithlike guitar solos, while the song’s groaning, moaning melody is utterly grim and blood-soaked.
Before you get to JBD’s cover of “Ordered Eastward”, you had better loosen up your neck muscles, because this bonus song is a neck-breaking headbanger as well as a racing barrage of ferocity. The sound is titanic, the chugs are heavy enough to split pavement, and the drums sound like waves of ranked mortar fire. The trio of growlers on this song also provide a vocal range that moves from monstrous, low roars to ghastly shrieks.
In a nutshell, Just Before Dawn continue to prove themselves the rightful heirs of bands like Bolt Thrower and Asphyx, capturing the horrors and sacrifice that occurred on World War II battlefields with death metal that’s both physically spine-shaking and atmospherically powerful.
Check out the music teaser below. You can pre-order the cassette here: