Review: Armored Dawn – Barbarians In Black
AFM Records (23 February 2018)
Reviewer: Simone – The Metal Mistress
Until I reviewed their second album, I was unfamiliar with the Brazilian power metal band, Armored Dawn. I so hate labeling music instead of letting it stand on its own, but must I say this was a first for me -South American Viking metal – I found it engaging and solid. Viking Metal, while enjoyable, has become a parody unto itself. Therefore, I hate to pigeonhole a band as such, especially since there are so many Amon Amarth wanna-be’s popping up in recent years. I do not get that from Armored Dawn.
To educate myself on Armored Dawn, I watched their YouTube videos. Yes my first view of the band lead me to believe I was going to be listening to old style heavy metal. Never judge a band by its album cover! Armored Dawn gave me a good solid, modern power metal album. Not an earth shattering one but one you would put on and rock out to feeling good.
While they are heavily influenced by Nordic mythology (just watch some of their videos on YouTube), their music is strong, well orchestrated and catchy.
The initial track ‘Dragons‘ feels like a call to arms. Arm yourselves, as we are about to go into battle. The opening with the piano lulls you into thinking this will be a calm, hard rock song but then the guitars join in with a speed riff and off we go to war. While listening to ‘Bloodstone‘ and ‘Chance‘ I caught myself toe tapping and head bobbing. ‘Chance‘ really brings Rafael’s drums to the forefront and grabs your attention. There is a tribal element that gets your blood pumped for a fight.
‘Odin‘ showcases the instruments over the vocals with a wonderful guitar solo. It is a good solid song but doesn’t rip my heart out. The romantic song ‘Sail Away‘ shows Eduardo’s vocal range. Here he provides us with a great baritone. This song is another one I truly enjoyed. If you are one who grew up with each metal album having at least one ballad, this will fill that need in you.
Eduardo continues to show his vocal prowess going from his smooth baritone to a deep guttural growl on ‘Behind‘. ‘Behind‘” feels like a pause in the battle. The soldiers are regrouping while the monks bless them and the next wave of the battle. With the chanting, I can even smell the myrrh burning! [or is that just a memory from my high school pothead days enjoying the music?] 🙂
‘Gods of Metal‘ is the one song I had an issue with, most likely due to the title being a bit pretentious. The lyrics read like a high school football team fight song. While a very testosterone laden song, it does have good crunch. ‘Barbarians‘ is the final skirmish in the battle. The fight is drawing to a close but it still must go on. This track sums up all the others combining power, speed and symphonic into one final clash.
Some have said that there is nothing new or innovative about this album. At times, metalheads can dissect the music we love far too much. ‘Barbarians in Black‘ is a good second album for Armored Dawn. It may not be cutting edge. I wouldn’t call it innovative. To me, it rehashes some old tricks and stays middle of the road metal. That said, I still enjoyed this album very much. The keyboardist, Rafael, provides us with an intense style and unusual methods. It is a fun album with loads of heart and energy behind it. The musicians are very skilled even if you do not feel they take many chances with their riffs and chords. Yes, it is riff heavy, but it is balanced out with excellent drums and keys. While Eduardo’s vocals will not make you weep with emotion, they are effective for good power metal. Armored Dawn successfully combines power metal with an element of speed and symphonic.
In a nutshell, the whole album is presented as a war cry to metalheads!
Take it as such, rock out and screw the analyzing!