Undawn is a melodic metalcore-band from the Netherlands, metalcore with a message as they describe it themselves. They are around for quite some time now, their first EP was released already in 2007, the same year that Tom an Michiel founded the band. Two years later they won the Dutch edition of Metal Battle and in 2011 the band released its first debut album ‘Jumpers’. Aardschok Magazine called it: “The best metalcore album coming from the Netherlands so far”.
The song ‘Glacier of Tears’ made it to ‘Best Metal’ on the 22Tracks website.
Undawn has played over 130 shows in- and outside the Netherlands. They also supported big names like Textures and Soulfly.
Now the band is back with a whole new album with a complete musical concept about the way things should be and the way they are not: Melodic metalcore with a message. “Justice is..” balances the listener between the anger and frustration when life isn’t treating us just and the things life offers one should appreciate and be greatful for.
Justice, in its broadest context, includes both the attainment of that which is just and the philosophical discussion of that which is just. The concept of justice is based on numerous fields, and many differing viewpoints and perspectives including the concepts of moral correctness based on law, equity, ethics, rationality, religion, and fairness.
Now for the actual album;
First of all I have a confession to make. Despite that the band hails from my own region I had never heard of them. A friend pointed them out in a facebook Group and that was my first contact with Undawn. So I can’t compare this album to their previous one but I don’t think that will pose a problem. Now I will focus solely on this album.
Opener ‘Coming Home’ is right from the start an highly energetic song. Intriguing riffs and double bass all over the place. What also strikes me, and that goes for the entire album, is that this is not the thirteen in a dozen metalcore as we hear it so often these days. I also hear some rock influences and more…
Follow-up song ‘What Justice Is’ begins with an interesting guitar-line while they scream: “This is justice” repetitive. A beautiful chorus with clean vocals and some screaming blending in. Ofcourse there also are the obligated breakdowns but they are not overdone.
‘In The Moment’ is an uptempo song from the start with some quieter moments during the song and after the bridge there is a beautiful guitar solo. Who says that there are no solo’s in metalcore are proven wrong by Undawn. In virtually all the songs we hear one or more solo’s and they do it deservingly. ‘A Bond Of Brothers’ is more a heavy metal song with ‘core’ influences and again some beautiful twin-solo’s. The sound of the clean vocals is realy warm and not boyband-like as we hear so often. Which is also beautiful displayed in ‘Faceless’ where the vocals come to their own. The calm bridge, from where they build the song again with a solo to a climax, displayes some creativity seldom heard in this genre.
The album rages forth with a never-ending energy but interspersed with calm moments.
The song ‘Forever’ for instance is a real rock ballad and has nothing to do with metalcore but I love it. I am not such a metalcore-elitist that I can’t appreciate new or other music and this song just gives me goosebumps in a positive way, beautiful!
Then ‘Fate’ kicks in, and boy it’s a wake-up call after such a ballad. Wow, what an energy. Well I think we are far enough in the review to finaly speak of Killswitch Engage. I tried not to mention them before but man that was a hard task. The riff at the beginning of this song could also easily be put on the next record of Killswitch Engage. And this goes for more of their riffs and screams. Not that I am saying that it is not original but just to point out what you can expect. And let’s be honest, it is never a bad thing to get compared to such a great metalcore band.
‘Never Giving Up’ features Björn Strid from Soilwork, just saying….
And then we have reached the last song on the album ‘The Puppets Of Heresy’. A worthy closure of this album. Uptempo and with all the obvious elements that you can expect in this genre. At the end of the song it is closed by sensitive piano playing. The word ‘epic’ is used too often to describe music if you ask me but here it is in it’s place.
So the whole album in one word: EPIC!
After hearing this album I only wonder why I didn’t hear of them before… My fault.
If you are into metalcore with a twist and if you like Killswitch Engage you should most definitely check them out. You will not get dissapointed, I promise.
Written by: René Woning
01 Coming Home
02 What Justice Is
03 In The Moment
04 A Bond Of Brothers
06 Moving On
09 Never Giving Up Feat. Björn Strid from Soilwork
10 The Puppets of Heresy
Michiel Brinkhuis – Guitars/lead vocals
Leon Kloosterman – Guitars/clean vocals
Thijs Brinkhuis – Bas/clean vocals
Tom Brinkhuis – Drums
“Dominate The World EP” (2007)
“The Roads To Despair EP” (2008)
“Justice Is..” (2015)
Record label: Graviton Music Services, December 2015
Video for ‘Coming Home’