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Dawn Heist: Catalyst

Soon after "the next new thing" is unleashed, I keep listening for the next, next new thing. Sometimes the new thing is an amalgam of already-existing genres which can sound either confused or brilliant. Not so long ago the new thing was "djent" (see Meshuggah, Chimp Spanner, Periphery) which combines heavy metal instrumentation, tuned-down guitars, challenging rhythms, and gruff vocals. Add those stylistic options to the already wide expanse of "heavy metal genres" and the colors to choose from seem to multiply.

Australia's Dawn Heist have visited the buffet and made some obvious choices. The term "djent" can be used but it would be such a mistake to dismiss Catalyst as a djent recording. There are heavy syncopated rhythms shared between the rhythm guitar and drums (double-bass precision indeed) but there are also foundations of synthesized ambience and programmed electronics which warms the compositions. The production of the bass tone shows a heavy Tool influence and that's not an issue. There is the djenty style of one heavy chugging guitar and a second playing clean, processed tones adding a synth quality (see Tesseract).

I am just getting warmed up to praise the vocals and vocalist. What djent usually lacks is vocal melody. What Dawn Heist has is a smooth, powerful mid-range vocalist who sometimes uses a scream for the emotional jolt. Each tune has hooks and when the next tune comes on you say "oh yeah, this song!" There are very creative melodies and harmonies. It's the type of voice that never gets old and never becomes grating; a tall order.

If you could only sample one song I highly suggest "Mirrors," a mid-tempo rocker with many vocal sections and hooks, one after the other; it's one you want to repeat right away. "Serascape" comes next and again, another tuneful, almost comforting vocal hook greets us. There are some brutal dirty vocals just around the corner, so don't thing this is all pretty fluff.

It is hard to describe how comfortable Catalyst is in that Dawn Heist combines many aspects of current metal but sounding like conscious musical choices as opposed to pieces of fads smashed together. If you have ever wished for djent with clean vocals than I have found your solution.

Track Listing
1. Ascension
2. Zenith
3. Escaping the Cornucopia
4. Synthetic Zion
5. Mirrors
6. Serescape
7. Reflections
8. Apostle
9. Prologue

Added: February 18th 2014
Reviewer: Ryan Good
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2041
Language: english

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