is not necessarily a country that you automatically connect with Doom Metal, yes there are AHAB, WORSHIP, MIRROR OF DECEPTION and WYTCHCRAFT, but that’s pretty much it. Well, with the exception of one of Germany’s oldest bands of the style: DAWN OF WINTER. If you look at the fact that the band around SACRED STEEL’s Jörg Michael Knittel and Gerrit Philipp Mutz has been in existence since 1990 and only managed to release one album in 1998 and now their second in 2008, it shows that they are Doom in more ways than just the music ;)
But seriously, this band is not a product of rushed song writing or anything like that and it shows, because their true Doom hymns are pure and thought through and if you have an exceptional voice such as Gerrit’s in the line-up, you can be sure that you have some originality in your music from the get go. Just like with SACRED STEEL, the lyrics are clichéd, but then again, how can a Doom song with the title “The Music Of Despair” not fit? It is a hymn to Doom, slow, elegiac, with great melodies and the already mentioned characteristic vocals, proudly proclaiming in the lyrics: “Doom is the soul of Metal!”, the almost perfect opener for this album, excellently setting the mood, which fits with a grayish day like today. Surely Gerrit’s theatrical vocal style is not suited for everybody, so beware a little, but it has this unique vibe swinging that gives the songs that extra bit of originality.
The influences for the Germans are pretty widespread, as PENTAGRAM and COUNT RAVEN shine through as well as the more epic side of CANDLEMASS or SOLITUDE AETURNUS, while maintaining enough characteristics to avoid any allegations of copying. “Mourner” is a shorter, mid-paced track that still has this doomy groove in the guitars and is shaking things up a little, so we do not get 56 minutes of pure lava, which is nice, as some Doom albums have this tendency of getting stuck in a rut a little too much, but DAWN OF WINTER are veterans enough not to fall into this trap. One thing that definitely sets them apart is the passion that is evident in the music, this is not the kind of music you play if you want to make fast money (especially if the band has been around for 18 years already) and that is worth a lot and I am pretty sure that the Doom community will embrace “The Peaceful Dead” almost like the second coming – and deservedly so.
So we’ve had the epic side and the a bit faster side so far, if you miss the third for the triumvirate, go no further than “Holy Blood”, which has the speed of a snail on valium (and that’s not meant as a complaint here), dealing with Jesus Christ and touches the crucifixion as well as the question if he had married Mary Magdalene, but the closing title track is what will grind you to dust and plough you into the ground, slow, mighty and thumping it oozes of desperation, speedfreaks of the world – take flight! The fact that six songs were left unmentioned should not be mistaken for them being filler material, no, not at all, there are just a few that are more exemplary than others when trying to point out the spectrum that “The Peaceful Dead” covers.
DAWN OF WINTER prove impressively that the reputation that precedes them is every bit deserved, for they have crafted a Doom Metal monolith that will fire the hearts of Doomheads worldwide for a long time to come!
(Online February 11, 2009)