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Dauntless, a Finnish group who, nine years after their inception (plus another eight under their previous name, Maniax), have finally released their debut LP on Firebox Records, 'Execute The Fact'. Such a journey does much to craft the style of a band, and it is indeed present here: Dauntless' style of Vader-esque death/thrash with a pinch of hardcore is clearly the result of numerous years of perfecting instrumentation and songwriting.
The LP fires up with 'Ruins', which enters with a slow build-up of ambiance before entering with a pure oldschool drum and guitar intro, which then rips into full-on modern death/thrash. The music here is executed near flawlessly; any fan of death metal would enjoy the material here without any trouble whatsoever. The production is clear, the hooks catchy, and the blasting brutal as possible. What this album lacks in originality it makes up for in staunch obedience of traditional death/thrash ideals, and is probably all the better for it.
Which side the album leans towards, death or thrash, waxes and wanes throughout. 'Shelter Equals Grave''s intro could have come from a Dark Angel or Slayer album without any difficulty, while 'Blindfolded Solutions' is absolute modern death metal. There's enough material to please fans of both styles and give great enjoyment to those such as myself that love this style of fusion. All instrumentation is handled extremely well; technically top-notch and speedy throughout, and with a surprising amount of thought given to vocal patterns and rhythms (not to mention a wonderful delivery on the part of frontman Sami Helle). Really, this is an album that the vast majority of the metal-listening population would enjoy. There are very few missteps.
There are only two points of complaint. One: production. While clear and reasonably good, more bass presence would really have enhanced the overall power of the album; there's a bit too much midrange here. Two: a lack of originality. This factor may dissuade some people from picking up this album, so for those of you searching for the 'next big thing' in metal, you may want to look elsewhere. But with music as punishing as that found on songs such as 'Body Wide Open', I could care less about how few keyboard interludes or uses of jazz rhythms there are.
Like many albums, Dauntless presents good and solid if somewhat derivative music. If such an absence is a concern, pass it up, but otherwise there's no excuse not to give this album a go.
(Originally written for www.vampire-magazine.com)