Black Dawn

Absence of Time

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Some alternative metal bands operate under the assumption that headbangers cannot live off of brute force alone; they feel that heaviness and melody are equally important. Absence of Time, Black Dawn's second full-length studio album, demonstrates that the New York-based combo is such an alternative metal band. It isn't that Black Dawn (who should not be confused with the Finnish death metal/black metal combo that gave us Blood for Satan) shies away from brute force; this CD is unapologetically blistering, and Absence of Time isn't for those who are in the mood for easy listening. No one will mistake Absence of Time for a Celine Dion release, and one can safely assume that none of the tracks will ever be played on an adult contemporary station. But as forceful and intense as Black Dawn can be, the band is also melodic. Black Dawn brings a keen sense of melody to inviting selections like "Bill's Song," "Wasted Time," and "February." Another thing that Black Dawn brings to the table is an appealing sound, which could be described as Metallica meets Pantera meets pre-Demonic Testament. When Absence of Time came out in 1999, countless headbangers were jumping on the rap-metal bandwagon in the hope of becoming as big as Korn, Limp Bizkit, or Rage Against the Machine -- Absence of Time, however, steers clear of rap-metal and demonstrates that Black Dawn is wise enough to do its own thing. Make no mistake: Sledgehammer aggression is a big part of what Black Dawn does on this album, but so is maintaining a commitment to melody. While Absence of Time is brutal, it is also intricate. This solid effort indicates that Black Dawn deserves to be better known.

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