RA’S DAWN – At The Gates Of Dawn

RA'S DAWN - At The Gates Of Dawn
  • 9/10
    RA'S DAWN - At The Gates Of Dawn - 9/10


g.o.d. Records
Release date: April 24, 2009

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

After some business problems where the band needed to secure a new deal (which should raise some brows as the last release Scales Of Judgement was a great Power Metal album), the guys from Koblenz, Germany, return with their third official studio recording, not counting the demo CD Solar Force (see review of Scales Of Judgement).

Now, without a doubt, At The Gates Of Dawn is the highlight of their career so far. The band did not change their musical direction in any way; they still play Progressive Power Metal, but everything is improved on their new album. The foremost improvement is that singer Olaf Reimann has become so much better, stronger, and more versatile — very satisfactory. And as a trademark of Ra’s Dawn, he is very charismatic and shapes the sound of the Germans. But, the other musicians have also improved their skills so that they are not merely a “very good” Power Metal band anymore.  Definitely now a force to be reckoned with when the question will be raised about the best release of the genre in 2009, because they also improved their already “very good” songwriting skills, which were already very good on Scales Of Judgement to begin with.

After a good intro, the band starts with a fantastic “Scorched Earth War” that displays all traits one can ask for in a Power Metal song: good, playful guitar parts, moody but not overly dominant keyboards, and a memorable vocal melody. Some parts remind of Iced Earth, but this song would blast away anything from the last two albums of those Americans, and easily at that. Over the course of the whole album, Ra’s Dawn can maintain that quality level, but vary enough to make each song differ considerably from the one before (again, something which they do much better than Iced Earth, or Steel Prophet … these days, two bands which share some similarities with Ra’s Dawn).

“Blinding Black” has more dominant keyboards, “Osiris” adds a good helping of Epic Metal and picks up the Egypt theme again. “In Dark Ages” is the second highlight of At The Gates Of Dawn, which is unusually heavy for the band, but creates a nice contrast to the emotional track before. And with the next song, the band even crosses the border to Thrash, something very unexpected for anyone who is familiar with the other releases of the band. “Winterstorm” sails in Fates Warning waters, and the melodic “Twist Of Fate” has a definite 80’s touch, which paves the way for the final piece of music, the over 22-minute long, epical “The Dawn Of Ra”. This is what Power Metal fans love: a slow, atmospheric introduction with Oriental sounds, taking its time to lead into an acoustic prelude of ballad-like character. Out with the lighters! And then a great riff, but still slow and menacing; like an animal waiting to attack, highly strung, seconds away from jumping, finally releasing tension after almost seven minutes. A spoken part in the mid-section adds to the feeling … before the treat continues. Of course, those who know the band already realized that this song is a re-recorded version of the track originally published on their first demo, Solar Force. But, the old version pales in comparison to this one, not only because of the greater technical possibilities, but also because Olaf Reimann is so much better now.

If you are in any way interested in Power Metal, you should put this album on your buy list. It may not get much better than this this year.


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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