SACRED DAWN – Dismal Swamp

Sacred Dawn - Dismal Swamp album cover.
  • 8.6/10
    SACRED DAWN - Dismal Swamp - 8.6/10


Label: Qumran Records
Release date: September 29, 2023

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Chicago based Prog Metal band Sacred Dawn burst onto the scene in 2006 with their excellent debut album Gears of the Machine, and in 2011 they followed up with a second great effort A Madness Within. Fast forward to 12 years later, and the band is finally following up with their long awaited third album: Dismal Swamp. Founding vocalist/guitarist Lothar Keller has brought back original guitarist John Vitale, with Joey Vega on bass, while adding Mike Mousel on the drums.

Worth The Wait

Sacred Dawn – Dismal Swamp definitely does not disappoint, with it’s tight arrangements, and near perfect blend of Prog and Classic Heavy Metal. Lothar Keller and John Vitale started working on the new material during the 2020 lockdown, and as evidenced the down time from the pandemic was put to good use. The album is self-released through Lothar Keller’s own label Qumran Records, and is a shining example to bands who are thinking of self release.

Final Notes

Dismal Swamp has everything any self-respecting Prog Metal fan could ask for: heavy riffs, melodic to screaming vocals, cool time changes, and great musicianship all the way around. The album’s eight songs run at just over 46 minutes, which feels like the perfect length with each song capturing your attention and never letting go. Fans of Dream Theater, Fates Warning, and Sons of Apollo will love Dismal Swamp, and it’s highly recommended to add this one to your collection.

Sacred Dawn band photo (2023).


  • Lothar Keller – Vocals/Guitar
  • John Vitale – Guitar
  • Joey Vega – Bass
  • Mike Mousel – Drums

Dismal Swamp – Tracklist

  1. Das Chaos Beginnt
  2. Unintended Consequences
  3. Truth Be Told
  4. Blood and Treasure
  5. A Dream Within
  6. Let Chaos Reign
  7. One More Day
  8. The Lake of the Dismal Swamp


  • Bryce Van Patten

    Bryce is an audio engineer and a graphic designer here at Metal Express Radio. From the day he purchased his first album (Machine Head by Deep Purple), he has had a passion for heavy music, which has influenced his whole life. Bryce is from the great Pacific Northwest in USA, and has played in metal bands like Babylon, Holy Terror, The Wild Dogs, Warhead and Egypt through the 80s. He had his first interview for the Portland, Oregon publication The Rock Rag with guitarist Paul Gilbert in his Racer X days. Then he was honored to get to have drinks, and talk for an hour with the legendary Dan McCafferty of Nazareth for his second interview. In 2013, he spent an amazing hour talking to Andi Deris of Helloween, which was the high point of his heavy metal journalism.   In the year 2001, he formed Man in Black Music Publishing. They released recordings by several local bands, and in the spirit of the old Metal Massacre compilations, he created a 2-album series called The Defenders of Metal. The albums featured classic styled Metal bands from all around the world, with bands from Australia to England, and from Argentina to Russia. Currently, he is the producer/creator/vocalist of the Metal band The Black Tuesdays.

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