Dark At Dawn – Of Decay And Desire

August 2, 2012 in Reviews by Chris Foley

 Dark At Dawn
Of Decay and Desire
2003

This was the third full-length from Germany’s (sadly now defunct) gloomy power metal act Dark At Dawn. It is becoming increasingly rarer that I see this band mentioned amongst metal circles, so I think it’s time to try and reignite some interest for this sorely underrated act.

For those completely unfamiliar with Dark At Dawn, the band’s sound is a subtle blend of the traditional German school of power metal with a lot of Swedish sensibility, and I feel this is in particular drawn from Morgana Lefay. Whilst Dark At Dawn are undeniably, well, dark; their sound houses all the melody required of the genre, but simultaneously wields a muscular edge that the Finnish and Italian schools – for the most part – can’t hold down.

A lot of this springs forth from Thorsten Kohlrausch’s passionate, throaty vocal approach. The closest comparisons I can draw to mind would be Sabaton’s Joakim Brodén and Morgana Lefay’s Charles Rytkönen. That isn’t to say that the music doesn’t convey the band’s darker aspirations. “Maid of Stone” in particular shows Dark At Dawn in sinister, heavy form and from this track it’s pretty clear to see that the band leans much harder on the bad-ass edge of the genre, rather than the flower.

Of Decay and Desire is an album I return to frequently, and it is certainly with good reason. There is nary a dud song the album’s forty five minutes. There are, however, some superb highlights. The double team of “Forever” and “The 5th Horseman” bang in the middle of the album showcases what I feel is best about Dark At Dawn. The former a mid-paced, highly melodic number that houses the album’s finest chorus, where as the latter is a stupendous power metal romp driven by a great, almost folky melody. Other standouts would have to include the brilliant “End of Ice: Warriorqueen” and the mighty “Weltenbrand”. However, I would say the majority of the album stands out as excellent.

Dark At Dawn never quite got the recognition they deserved, and maybe it was down to their rougher cut vocals. I must say though; it’s a crying shame these guys weren’t catapulted up into the power metal premier league. They had cuts and chops to rival some of the finest acts, and fans of bands from Savatage to Nocturnal Rites, and from Evergrey to Tad Morose should seek this out right away. Don’t let this band fade away into obscurity, listen to Of Decay and Desire: it’s absolutely awesome!

Chris’ rating 4.5 out of 5