According to Anders Biazzi, the guitarist for Blood Mortized, an early member of Amon Amarth, and the creator of the music in Just Before Dawn’s debut release Precis innan gryningen, the album’s concept is “WAR” — all caps. He calls the music “Swedish Steamroller Death Metal”. And believe me, that’s no lie.
This is one of the best old-school, Swedish-style death metal albums you’ll hear this year, and there are three ingredients that make it so. The first is the songwriting. Every song includes lethally infectious riffs and grim melodies that give it a distinctive and memorable personality. Pulling off that achievement while at the same time inflicting devastating sonic carnage is a neat trick.
The album as a whole is also well-constructed, with the songs generally alternating between up-tempo marauders that chug and grind (such as the title track and “Under Wheels of Death”) and mid-paced or slow crushers with a morbid death-doom vibe (like “Pulverised” and “Raped Soil”, the latter being a fine example of the skill with which Biazzi infiltrates a kind of sorrowful beauty into the brute destructiveness of the song as a whole).
On the subject of songwriting, there’s also an effective synchronization of the lyrics and the music. The concept of the album is indeed WAR — in the air, on land, and in the sea — but the lyrics aren’t patriotic flag-wavers or celebrations of valor under fire. They’re vivid descriptions of devastation, bloodshed, and horror. The music captures those ideas just as vividly. Continue reading »