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Odd Beginnings - 56%

HammerOfDeath, September 17th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1996, CD, Twilight Records (Limited Edition, Slimcase)

I might be incorrect, but I believe this is the first commercial release by Chris Black, implying that certain issues can be forgiven. The lineup says there was a guy named "Dean Grey" on the guitar, I'm not sure if that's a real person of just another pseudonym for Chris Black. "John Weston" and "The Hammer" are confirmed pseudonyms though. Regardless, Dawnbringer's origins are far from perfect or enjoyable even. Sacrament is a highly experimental EP with traits of black, industrial and heavy metal.

Opener "Rider at the Gate of Dawn Part 2" (Where's part 1?) slowly builds the album, synthetic noises, then an acoustic guitar steadily enters and makes way for a clean effortless piano harmony, serving as an introduction to the title track. Actually, "Sacrament" and "Walking Over Shadows" are very similar, both merging somewhat generic black metal with overly quiet acoustic verses, with only the main melodic riff from the title track standing out, making the first half of this EP very lackluster.

The saving grace is the last track "In a Handful of Dust". It's still similar to the previous tracks only longer, improving the formula by pairing the slower sections with some decent melodic guitar solos, resulting in nice chill passages, and the tremolo riffing is somewhat better here. The song closes with a calm acoustic guitar only part, sections that would later become a trademark of early Dawnbringer.

Chris Black is definitely not a good singer, but in this release, he must be very uncomfortable with his voice because he masks it with a distortion effect, giving it an industrial vibe. It is what it is, you can either get past it or be completely turned off. singing is sparse though, so it won't bother you too much.

"Unbleed", the full-length release following "Sacrament", would carry many aspects of the music found here, improving upon them and turning it into something worth anybodies time. As it stands, this EP is at least interesting as it was the blueprint that would mark the early Dawnbringer style. It may be weird, quirky and even outlandish, but trying to sound different in the world of music takes some balls and for that alone, this short release has a special place in my heart.