Final Dawn - Under the Bleeding Sky
Karmageddon Media
Technical Melodic Death Metal
8 songs (39'24")
Release year: 2004
Final Dawn, Karmageddon Media
Reviewed by Alex

The premise was right. Young Finnish band playing aggressive and technical melodic death metal. What is not to like here? Yet, I have spun Under the Bleeding Sky repeatedly and no warm fuzzy sense developed. It can’t be a good thing when I think: “Five songs down, three more to go and then I can put on something else”. Unfortunately, this is exactly how I feel about Final Dawn’s debut full-length. I really wanted to like the album, but in the end I have to be honest with myself. The final verdict is – Under the Bleeding Sky is the CD I recommend you pass this year unless your financial resources are unlimited.

Have you ever had a feeling that all ingredients in your cake were top quality yet final product wasn’t delicious? And doesn’t chewing on grass still leave you hungry in the end? Excuse me all my kitchen and chow comparisons and hyperboles, they just help my case. Final Dawn, a young band from Finland, took four talented technical musicians, looked back at the roots of melodic death metal and decided to do their own thing, go the path less traveled. They certainly did not copy the newest In Flames and Soilwork, no traces of ‘core or three note chords to be head on Under the Bleeding Sky. They also left keyboards and gothic aspect behind, not ripping off the new Dark Tranquillity sound. Instead, Final Dawn harkens all the way to the Gothenberg early days, maybe to when Dark Tranquillity was Septic Broiler and In Flames was not even born. With Under the Bleeding Sky Final Dawn set out to write its own Skydancer, trying to combine woven guitar riffs with complex melodies. Good idea, one small problem. None of the eight cuts on the album captured my attention. The music is just there. The riffs are complex but don’t slay and certainly repeat themselves. The melodies zigzag, weave and unravel, but never grab. Rhythm changes impress and are flawlessly executed, but songs just don’t hold together. Time and time again, the song starts, Aggression Overdrive, Regression is Transgression, Bleeding Sky, and you think this one is going to take it over the top. Pretty soon, however, the dullness sets in and hope fizzles. This is a classic case of the final product not being equal to the sum of the individual parts.

There is no question guitarists Marko Leiviska and Vesa Mattila can play. It is obviously a thankless job to pull their duties off – this is very complex technical guitar playing that certainly pleases the performers themselves and requires a lot of training. But what good is it if truly memorable moments are few and far between? It is possible that Mattila having to pull vocal chores contributes to the problem. His singing is very non-descript blackish cackling devoid of vocal melodies. Maybe hiring a vocalist could help Final Dawn to take the next step.

I don’t have the right to say that another album like Under the Bleeding Sky would do Final Dawn in. Somebody out there might be the fan and local followers can be quite rabid. Yet I truly believe that unless some huge qualitative steps are made Final Dawn will dissolve into oblivion like so many other bands comprising of talented musicians stumbling away from the right path to recognition. I wish the band luck, they need it.

Killing Songs :
The absence of those killing songs is exactly the problem
Alex quoted 45 / 100
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