There’s an expanding trend among band’s who once embraced extreme metal elements, especially in progressive circles, to eventually shed their roots and focus on songwriting elements and the cleaner aspects of their sound. The most notable case of this would be Swedish metal pioneers Opeth, who have opted for their last few releases, to ditch the death growls and rumbling guitars in favor of more 70’s influenced sounds. Salem crew Dusks Embrace are another act to stray from the deathly path (although there are still traces) and on latest release Reawakening, they attempt to diversify their sound and bring something different to the table.
Harbinger welcomes the listener with industrial glitched beats and synths. This is something straight out of a Nine Inch Nails record…that is until the debuting Aldo Arevalo makes his presence felt, his folksy clean vocals acting as a call and response to snarling death growls. It is clear with such an introduction that the band is keen to pay homage to its musical past while embracing their new direction. They follow this with second track With Cleansing Flames, opening with elegant piano notes and leading to a soaring guitar riff. It proves to be one of the heavier moments on the record, embracing slick guitar tones and Opeth-esque vocal melodies. The lyrics on the record remain distant and cryptic, but like all great writers who utilize such a style, they paint a picture fitting of the musical backdrop the band provide.
The majority of Reawakening falls into the category of lilting, atmospheric progressive rock. The likes of Psycasthenia (an obsolete term for a type of neuroses) and Face Forward engage the listener in dreamy melancholy. The former is a mellow, jazzy number echoing Brand New of all people with its sumptuous harmonies and the latter a similarly delicate track which takes off mid way through with crunchy power chords and swirling keys. The calm only lasts so long however, as the Rush meets Coheed and Cambria of Lydian Dreams shows another side of the band. It’s synth laced riffs collide with a huge chorus to reveal a much poppier side to the band’s sound. The title track then brings the album full circle, using themes from intro track Harbinger to cleverly close out the record.
Dusks Embrace have taken an bold step with Reawakening, penning a selection of tracks which vary in style and sound but ultimately come together to achieve the common goal, summarised in the album title itself . In the process, they have almost completely shed their past musical skin and replaced it with a knack for elaborate but focused songwriting, which will no doubt help them appeal to a wider audience.