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Strange New Dawn: New Nights of Euphoria

Pure unadulterated weirdness is how I would describe the newest album by Norwegian Prog/Doom supergroup Strange New Dawn. New Nights of Euphoria is a trippy and off-the-wall release with plenty of the slow tempo and wistful qualities of an epic doom album, but with all of the idiosyncrasies you'd expect from your friend in high school who went a smidge off the deep end and starting taking creative writing and niche art classes. There's a bit of aggressive pomposity here, which isn't uncommon in most prog circles, but be certain that if you are prone to stinkface at the more avant-garde acts in the genre, you may be turned off by what you find here.

The guitar and bass tandem of Strange New Dawn are both ex-members of In The Woods..., who were pretty original in their time and I suppose it's pretty easy to see where the backbone of weirdness in New Nights of Euphoria originates from. The songs are unconventionally structured and feature most of the hallmarks of extreme metal in some capacity while still managing to keep things in the doom-metal sphere. Plodding and pounding drums and riffs are often accompanied by some fantastic keyboard orchestrations/pianos/organs, which gives an ethereal and angelic contrast to the periodic bursts of double kick drums or blast beats that the band likes to toss in here and there. The vocals provided by ExRoyal are easily the weakest point of the band to me. He tends to sing in a raspy and monotonous roar, without a ton of variation aside from the occasional warble or growl. There are some backing vocals to liven things up at times with a harmony here or there, thank god. Someone more akin to a Messiah Marcolin or Robert Lowe would have gone a long way to making this album a more listenable experience.

With a band as out there as Strange New Dawn sonically, there are bound to be moments that interest even the most cynical listener, though. "Class Hero Idol" sounds like the band's attempt at something a bit more approachable (or as close as they are gonna get), with a chorus that reminds this reviewer of a slowed-down (and much weirder) Motorhead. There are also some really lovely keyboards overtop blistering drums that kick in periodically that are pretty sweet. There are little bits of intrigue like that all over the album, but there's just not enough to make sitting through the almost hour-long album worth it on repeated listens. I can't help but respect the weirdness, though.

1. Journey Within
2. Class Hero Idol
3. Defenders of Faith
4. The Wake of Icons
5. Fortune Bringer
6. Finding the Pieces
7. Seek It
8. High Strangeness
9. Sons of Galaxy
10. The Passing

Added: March 6th 2024
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 310
Language: english

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