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Germany strikes again! - 85%

SlayerDeath666, April 10th, 2017

Ra’s Dawn are a German progressive metal band with lyrics about Egyptian Mythology. From the Vile Catacombs is their third album, released on Roll the Bones Records. This is an interesting note because the band are listed as unsigned but each of their albums has been released on a different label.

Ra’s Dawn may not be quite as immensely heavy as some of their peers but these guys still bring the heavy when it comes to the riffs. This is particularly evident on the aptly titled “Crusher” as well as the bombastic “Soraya’s Eyes,” both of which are fantastic tracks. The latter relies a bit too much on breakdowns but the funky bass lines and opening drum line offset the breakdowns with some serious creativity. The lead work and soloing are also outstanding on this album. It is also worth noting the lovely acoustic work that opens “Speak to the Dead” because it provides a great contrast to the heavy riffs. Bonus points for the Kind Diamond reference at the end of the song. That was very clever.

The vocals are pretty kickass and showcase nice range, ultimately landing somewhere between Sean Peck and Matt Barlow. Olaf’s voice is quite unique and a tad hard to describe but it possesses plenty of power and when the band slows things down, he smooths it out to accentuate the tempo of the music. Are there better vocalists out there? Sure. It is hard to imagine anyone but Olaf singing for Ra’s Dawn though because he has such a unique tambour that really adds depth to the band’s music.

The drumming is mostly there to keep time and propel the songs forward but it is well done. It is often fairly bombastic for the genre but every so often, Marco has a moment of great creativity which makes this album that much more interesting for the listener. Although the songwriting is very solid throughout the album, its true depth is showcased in the sincerely epic almost 10 minute closer “From the Vile Catacombs of Sahure.” The band should think about writing a few more long epics because this is the most complex and interesting song on this album as well as the album’s best song.

Much of this album does not sound particularly Egyptian which is a bit disappointing. There are hints of it scattered throughout the album, which actually works rather well because it adds another dimension to the album instead of being a focal point. The only time Ra’s Dawn goes full out Egyptian is on the closing track, where the acoustic work sounds like something Nile might have written. All in all, this is an awesome album that will delight fans of riff-driven progressive metal.

- originally written for The Metal Observer