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Fallen Tyrant - Children of a Nuclear Dawn - 92%

Edmund Sackbauer, February 18th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Bleeding Heart Nihilist Productions (Digipak, Limited edition)

When I stumbled upon the cover of „Children of a Nuclear Dawn” in the first place I expected it to be some kind of death or thrash metal album. The slightly cartoonish layout with the huge skull building the entry to some kind of catacombs and the color palette being kept in green, yellow and orange gave some wrong indications. In fact, this album is the second full length by Darmstadt/Germany based outfit Fallen Tyrant delivering a maybe not overly new or progressive but devastating and crushing slab of traditional black metal.

Like it is the case with more or less each metal genre having its origins way back in the eighties there is little room left for innovation. There is a reason why some bands made big waves back then and have gained a lot of followers over the past decades. Fallen Tyrant did not even try to invent the wheel a second time. Instead they have been clever enough to pay tribute to some of their obvious idols and chose a quite conservative approach of taking all the well-known single pieces putting them back together and enhancing them with a little bit of their own DNA to create something that sounds familiar but fresh at the same time.

Like fans of the genre are used to the classic tremolo lines are in full force and there are a lot of the typical epic and often melancholic melodies that we all learned to appreciate from the bands of what is commonly known as the second wave of black metal. There are glimpses of the minimalistic and raw approach that used to define black metal in the beginning but also some bits that have a more laid-back and less adventurous feeling. Fallen Tyrant tear through their compositions in a highly confident and determined manner, and the great thing about this offering of theirs is that it is surprisingly catchy all the way through. I tend to use words and phrases ala vile and unholy when reviewing black metal that harkens back to the days of old and these lads certainly deliver.

The drumming is often very fast but there are enough sections in which the tempo is slowed down to give the listener a chance to breathe and enjoy the moody moments. Don’t get me wrong – this is still some hefty and aggressive metal music but you can clearly see that the members of Fallen Tyrant have put a lot of emphasis on writing nicely flowing songs with a lot of atmosphere. Things never get too hectic or chaotic and even in the speedier parts there are clearly identifiable patterns making the music even more enjoyable. The lead harmonies constantly dwelling in the background serve as melodic counterpart to the riff attacks and the blast-beat sections.

While the lyrics cover traditional things like war and other dark topics they are more competently written than what one might expect. The vocals are spit out in typical manner with the singer barking and screaming like a mad dog. The production is raw yet transparent so no detail gets buried in the mix. While I personally could have done with just a bit more punch most black metal aficionados will love that approach. Overall “Children of a Nuclear Dawn” is a nice gem that fans of the genre should add to their collection without a doubt.