UNION KAIN – Black Dawn

UNION KAIN - Black Dawn


Label: Independent
Release date: July 18, 2020

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Fort Lauderdale band Union Kain’s debut Black Dawn shows a band with a lot of musical promise. Tight, riff heavy and uncompromising songs, Glazergirl’s bluesy, brash vocals, variety in all eight of the tracks.

But it is hard to rationalize the logic of releasing the irony and sarcasm free “Your Own Kind” on one’s debut album in the world of 2020. “An empty life is what you’ll find/Time you stick to your own kind.”

It isn’t often easy in a broad genre to delve deeply into the intent, especially the sociopolitical intent, of individual cuts with a straight face, not when a plethora of misanthropic, horrible “messages” abound.  One doesn’t have to go far into the Metal collection to find multiple examples where Old Scratch wins the day, all of humanity dies in a fiery apocalypse (with said apocalypse being welcomed eagerly by the band singing about it), violence of all types is seemingly called for and perpetrated lyrically. Metal’s long, shameful, and dark (and not the “cool” dark, the actual dark dark) history of sexist imagery and recommending actual violence against women is always a struggle. Even when embedded in otherwise thrilling music it becomes increasingly hard to ignore anti-human sentiments .

Fans of the genre are constantly faced with moral questions when faced with these dark or evil messages–is this song telling me a story, or is it espousing a belief or belief system? Are Slayer presenting what happened in the Holocaust as a cautionary tale with “Angel Of Death”, or are they encouraging us to follow in a certain path?

If it is espousing a belief system that I do not agree with, can I still listen without feeling badly about myself and/or the world I live in? King Diamond really launches Mercyful Fate’s best album when he shrills “I deny Jesus Christ/The deceiver”.  Can we experience the song as we would a horror movie rather than a call to action? And does it matter what King himself believes?

It’s hard to imagine a worse message than “stick with your own kind” coming out of south Florida–or anywhere, for that matter–except maybe “let’s throw a Covid party”, which also seems to be happening. The pandemic has underscored the fact that there has never been a greater need for unity, in this country and the world.

It is entirely possible that in the world of Union Kain, “your own kind” = assholes and not any other broadly categorized group, but in a year that has seen very sophisticated politically targeted Heavy Metal releases, the song seems particularly off-note. Lamb Of God and Sepultura are just two of the bands this year who have released brilliant music that also carries a message, and yet, as clear and direct as those messages may seem to one listener, they are still up for individual interpretation and can be misconstrued. Likewise, “Your Own Kind” might be a message to an individual known to the band or just a story they envisioned and not a philosophy on how to live life. Either way, not exactly the song to blare out of your car windows while rolling through town this–or any–summer.


  • Daniel Waters

    Daniel was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. Iron Maiden’s Piece Of Mind wasn’t the first Metal album he owned, but it was the one that lifted the lid off his soul when he received the record as a gift on his 15th birthday. He's been a Metal fan ever since. He's probably best known as the author of various Young Adult novels such as the Generation Dead series and the ghost story Break My Heart 1,000 Times, now also a major motion picture entitled I Still See You, starring Bella Thorne. Writing and music, especially Heavy Metal music, has always been inextricably linked in his mind and career. His first paid gig doing any type of writing was for Cemetery Dance, where he wrote a horror-themed music column called Dead Beats, and when he was writing the first Generation Dead novel he had a ritual where he started his writing day with a Metal playlist that kicked off with “Crushing Belial” by Shadows Fall.

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