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Very well-realized melodeath/metalcore - 74%

Noktorn, June 15th, 2011

First things first: 'Texas' kills it. The opening track on this EP actually goes so hard that I feel bad for the followup tracks simply because they have no chance at all. 'Texas' is basically the best of the best of what Blood by Dawn does: traditional melodeath/metalcore in the American style that's as catchy as it is aggressive and melodic as it is brutal. It's absolutely the flagship track on the EP and I'm up in the air as to whether it would have been a better closer or opener. Either way, it's definitely the star here.

Fortunately, the rest of this disc doesn't fair too badly, even in the rather harsh light the opening song casts. Blood by Dawn, along with Kalakai, is one of the few bands in Florida (or indeed, the US) still performing the old style of melodeath/metalcore that's slowly fallen out of fashion over the past few years as deathcore has become the prominent genre du jour. There are hints of that style in the more aggressive moments, of course- bits of tremolo riffing that are more hard-bitten and death influenced than anything the Killswitch crowd would produce- but for the most part this is pretty straightforward, mid-'00s metalcore that wouldn't sound too odd in an FYE a few years back. Not to say that it's dated- Blood by Dawn's riffcraft and songwriting keeps them from sounding washed-up, with a strong array of excellent, post-At the Gates melodic riffs alongside some solid breakdowns.

Actually, the only fault I'd find with this EP is the latter material- Blood by Dawn are definitely at their best when they're being unabashedly melodic. This is one of the reasons why 'Texas' is the strongest track here- it's nonstop melodic riffing, expressive, hardcore-influenced drumming, and a fantastically realized vocal performance. Likewise, the title track is probably the weakest, being the most aggressive and deathcore influenced of the songs on here. That material isn't necessarily bad, but it doesn't feel like where the bands' real strength lies- they're just so good at writing contrasting guitar pieces and melodic leads that any deviation from that seems like a time-waster. In short, there's no need to compete on the level of brutality- the melodies do all the talking for them.

I feel like bands such as Blood by Dawn, releasing solid material even today, might be the spearhead of a resurgence of traditional, melodic metalcore that's been missing for a few years now. 'Upon the Horizons of Fate' is definitely a strong volley from the band, and I'm hoping to hear a full-length from them in the future. All the pieces are in place for these guys to become a big deal within the next couple years, so here's hoping they make it out of the Florida swamps and onto bigger stages in the future.