Dusks Embrace is a Progressive Rock/Metal band from Salem, Oregon and in the past eight years they have released three full length records (Paradigm Shift (2009), The Twilight Enigma (2010), To Realms Beyond (2012)), and two EP’s (Oblivion at Hand (2009), From Idols To Dust (2014)). This year sees the release of their new full length effort, ReAwakening.
When a band states that they draw inspiration from death metal to Michael Bublé and everything that comes in between, you get the sense that you’re going to hear a record that is haphazard and inconsistent with no real focus but ReAwakening is anything but that. What this range of inspiration does is give the band additional sensibilities that they can tap into where, perhaps, their contemporaries can not. It also gives them a melodic edge. Refreshing.
ReAwakening open up with “Harbinger” with its tinges of EDM, Periphery style and video game music all rolled into one. Mix that in with some black metal elements and clean, melodic vocals courtesy of new lead vocalist, Aldo Arevalo and you have a solid slab of Progressive Metal.
Next up is “With Cleansing Flames.” This song has a Dream Theater feel to it in places and comes across as a more traditional Prog Rock song. The way the vocals soar is beautifully haunting and gives the track a dark undertone and a Gothic quality that I enjoyed. I also enjoyed the majestic sounding synths, giving it moments of a Nightwish or Within Temptation sound.
“Face Forward” is a slight change of pace from the opening two songs and it’s the first real glimpse I got of the bands clear Katatonia/Porcupine Tree/Opeth influences. Vocally this song channels Steven Wilson, Jonas Renske & Mikael Akerfelt. The intro has a definite Opeth vibe and would not feel out of place on Damnation.
“Psycasthenia” is another mellow track featuring more Katatonia-esque vocals and showcases once again, the talent that is Aldo on vocals and proves that the band can handle the gentle, melodic side just as well as they handle the heavy.
“Reflections” is a short, jazzy instrumental piece. Very calming. Very Opeth. Very good.
“Lydian Dreams” picks up the pace once again with it’s synthy, Dream Theater intro and melodic lead guitar before the vocals kick in over what I could only describe as experimental, jazz-fusion. Experimental would be a good word to use actually because this song is where the band seem to jump from one idea to another. However, it works. It never feels like anything is out of place or that change-ups are made just because they can be. Controlled chaos.
“Winters Epitaph” is a dark, haunting song that is reminiscent of Porcupine Tree with a beautiful backing track. Possibly my favourite song on the album actually. The album closes with the title song “ReAwakening” , and instrumental featuring Industrial drums and synths that comes across as a Depeche Mode number. Has a very different feel about it than the previous seven songs but closes the album up nicely.
Now, the one thing I haven’t touched upon in my review are Josh Brewers guitars. This is a seriously talented player. Everything he plays has a purpose, with all the lead lines meticulously crafted and it never once feels like he’s overplaying, or playing for the sake of it. Don’t get me wrong though, I like a good guitar wank like the next man but Josh just plays to serve the song and I thoroughly enjoyed his melodic guitar playing throughout the entire record.
This album is a grower, not a show-er . On first listen I enjoyed it, especially as I didn’t know what to really expect and on subsequent listens it got better and better. It’s a band that deserves to be heard as they have some serious talent on display. If you’re a fan of bands like Dream Theater, Circus Maximus, Scar Symmetry, Katatonia, Porcupine Tree and Opeth, I feel that you will enjoy Dusks Embrace immensely.
ReAwakening is out on November 15th 2016 and I urge you to check it out.