Dawn of Valor – Immortal Flame EP
EPs are a blessing and a curse for many reasons: you get some new music from a band you like, but if the music sucks you are not tortured by an albums length of crap. On the other hand, if the songs are any good, you want more and you want it now. Dawn of Valor has just released their latest EP “Immortal Flame”, and it’s making me feel like Homer Simpson. To emphasize my point I will quote a conversation between Moe the Bartender and Homer Simpson: “It can flash fry a buffalo in 90 seconds…But I want it now.” I love the songs so much that I just don’t think I can be patient enough for a whole CD worth of music to plop into my greedy hands. If you are a fan of Iron Maiden, Manowar, Primal Fear, and Hammerfall, then Dawn of Valor should be to your liking.
Dawn of Valor have been kicking around the Minnesota metal scene for a few years. Over the past 12 months, there has been a big shakeup in the lineup and new, stronger music has arrived. I wouldn’t say the band has evolved, Darwin be damned, but matured. The operatic vocals are gone and will be missed, but they have been replaced with a solid and meaty tenor. The dual guitar combo has added some extreme shredding to the picture, the drums are now handled by a multi-talented (and stable) musician., and the bass is as solid and steady as ever.
Sadly, there are only 3 songs. There is the obligatory thematic and dramatic introduction about mortality/immortality and it sets up the songs nicely. The first song “Lutetium” is a throw back to the Iron Maiden Killers-era with the subject matter and the heavy riffing. While “Lutetium” has that classic vibe to it, the other songs are in the here and now. My favorite (and I think most accessible song on the EP) is “Valkyrie Sky”. It opens with a very catchy and lyrical riff that permeates the song and makes it very cohesive. The whole song is well crafted and you can tap your foot to it. The last song, “Only One”, is all around my favorite, and if you are a real metal fan it should be your favorite as well, as it concerns Connor MacLeod and the tale of “The Highlander”. There is a kick-ass opening riff, and it sounds as if Kurgan and his severed throat, courtesy of Juan Sanchez, is singing and hoping that he is the only one.
The production is very nicely done and is a big improvement over the band’s previous release. It has been handled by Joe Waller, the band’s new drummer and additionally member of MN folk metal band Minos. The downside, as I mentioned at the beginning, is that there isn’t enough music. The EP would have had been more satisfying if there was at least one more song, but I think two more songs have really done the trick. Because of the lack of material it left me wanting.
Despite there being only three killer songs, I couldn’t help hitting repeat well…repeatedly. “Immortal Flame” is a big step forward for Dawn of Valor. I just hope they can get something out soon so they can really push themselves out into the metal market. Oh, and the cover art isn’t half bad either.
Live Long and Rock Hard,
SpaceKev’s Rating: 4.25 out of 5