Upon This Dawning

We Are All Sinners

Written by: BL on 05/05/2014 23:56:20

Upon This Dawning's previous album "To Keep Us Safe" was a cookie cutter assembly line sort of record made up of everything that the scene had good or bad - combining equal parts post-hardcore with extremely emo style pop vocals with choppy metalcore riffs and a ton of breakdowns haphazardly shoved into every possible gap imaginable. One new vocalist later, Dani Nelli from fellow Italian metalcore band Tasters, and Upon This Dawning are back with their new album "We Are All Sinners". If the cover isn't a clear enough indicator, Upon This Dawning have noticeably downtuned their sound towards a more gothic/industrial/horror inspired metalcore sound that is more streamlined and stylistically coherent than their old output.

When "Anima" kicks there is an immediate feeling that the production values on this record are way higher than the last one. The new gothic synths are a perfect backdrop to the heavy thundering guitars and the pummeling drums. Whilst they've always had breakdowns, Upon This Dawning are finally able to blend them into songs with improved songwriting and complex layering and this results in a more dramatic soundscape. A soundscape also punctuated by dark and menacing vocals from the new man Dani Nelli, whose screams are more powerful than former screamer Giani Molinari and frighteningly guttural at times (no doubt helped by some studio magic at times). The cleans are also no longer the sort of simple emo/pop vocals but more strained and fitting to the darkened mood the songs capture. Dani contributes his thicker voice in this department too alongside the traditional clean vocalist Matteo Botticini who has a fairer, high pitched voice. "Embrace The Evil" and "Obey" are good examples of where both vocalists play off each other, and even if the music is far heavier than it was previously the choruses are still catchy enough to be memorable. The latter also showing off some enjoyable horror atmosphere that feels outrageously cheesy in a song that's noticeably anti-religion in the lyrics.

The main trade off to all the new weighty production plays, synth lines and a more focused sound is that Upon This Dawning have in a way made their main instrumentals more simplistic to accommodate these very same newer parts. The rhythm guitar riffs definitely feel slightly technical in this respect compared to the previous release (as technical as harmonised metalcore riffs go anyway), and tend to stay around the lower end of the frets outside of hurtling chug sections akin to bands such as Like Moths To Flames. While this approach does get weary during the latter parts of the album, as usual other interesting new influences draw your attention instead such as the more industrial tones to be heard on "City Of Sin" and the very electronica-based "Fake". As the band rarely get far away from their core sound, these occasional departures do help keep the album from becoming a bit too stale. A morose and slow burning closer "The Encounter" closes the album out in a fashion similar to the album titled track from Bring Me The Horizon's "Suicide Season" though is not anywhere near as brilliant, but does end the album on an ambitious high.

All things taken into account, "We Are All Sinners" certainly contains enough improvement to give Upon This Dawning a much better shot at getting into the scene's main battleground. It's actually quite an enjoyable record despite some of the cheesier elements probably best not taken too seriously or if you like the heavier direction these guys seem to be heading in. Those who lamented Motionless In White's almost unexpected departure from a primarily synth-metalcore focused sound to a more mainstream nu-metal/industrial one will have plenty to chew on here for at least quite a while.

Download: Embracing The Evil, Obey, The Last Conception
For the fans of: Motionless In White, Betraying The Martyrs, Like Moths To Flames, Greeley Estates
Listen: Facebook

Release date 29.04.2014
Artery Recordings

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