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Typical Gothenburg with atrocious vocals. - 35%

vonDread, January 11th, 2003

My general opinion of the Gothenburg sound is that it has its moments (such as a few choice songs by At the Gates, Arch Enemy, etc.), but is for the most part, boring. I don't really consider Amon Amarth, one of my favorite bands, part of the genre. Their aggression, lyrical imagery, and talent elevate them above standard melodeath. And while I definitely can hear the similarities to Amon Amarth in Solar Dawn’s work (the first two tracks feature unmistakable AA riffs), in my mind, this band falls right in with the likes of Dark Tranquillity and Soilwork. When they're not copying Amon Amarth, the riffwork is very much the same. It's especially noticeable on the track "Spellbinder," which could almost be swapped with anything on Steelbath Suicide without anyone being the wiser. Or is it The Chainheart Machine I'm thinking of? All this Gothenburg stuff sounds the same to me these days.

Ugh, then there's the vocals. Älvestam sounds like he's just trying too hard to sound harsh. While the opening scream on "Punished by Silence" is almost reminiscent of Johan Hegg, the rest just comes off as really strained, like he's fighting a throat infection. I do very much like the clean vocals to be found on "Deicidal Beliefs" however. If they'd stuck with that, I imagine I'd get much more enjoyment out of this. As is, the vocals just grate on my nerves. The momentary clean interludes provide some measure of variation, but not nearly enough.

Right up till the end, there's nothing else really noteworthy. The best song I've heard from this band was on their previous EP, Frost-Work. If this whole album sounded more akin to "Arisen Composure," it would be another story entirely. A song of that caliber was what I was waiting to hear, but it never came. Highlights? Meh, So while Solar Dawn may at times sound like Amon Amarth, they're too lacking to stand up to the masters of melodic Viking death metal. What this really amounts to is typical melodeath with bad vocals and recycled riffs. Don’t waste your time.