Dutch band UNDAWN have been around since 2007, the first few years using the name Symphony of Destruction but sticking with Undawn from 2010 and onward. “Justice Is…” is the band’s second full length album, and was released through Dutch label Graviton Music Services at the tail end of 2015.

Undawn is one of many bands that explore a variety of metal I’m not overly familiar with, usually described as metalcore. In this case with the describing word melodic attached to it. While other bands I have encountered have explored this field in a fairly different manner than Undawn, the main principles still apply: This is a band that blends details and elements from both metal and hardcore.

The vocals is the key detail as far as this band is concerned from what I can gather, as they alternate between aggressive shouted vocals and clean, harmony based lead vocals. Most commonly using the former for the verse parts and the latter for the chorus sections. The instrumentation emphasize the contrast too, as the verse parts tends to be harder, pacier and more aggressive while the chorus sections generally have less of a dominant guitar riff arrangement, more often than not also softened up with either a harmony guitar solo layer or a delicate, swirling guitar solo overlay.

The band doesn’t stray too much from this general set-up, and as for the specifics of the metal aspects of their material my impression is that groove-oriented metal and alternative metal are perhaps the most prominent foundations of this aspect of their style there, with occasional lapses into darker, harder and pacier fields of the metal universe.

While tight and energetic throughout, flavored with occasional left turns into dampened, delicate sections of wandering plucked guitar details with or without vocals, there aren’t too many moments here that really manage to engage me on a higher level however. My impression is that this is a band that first and foremost will appeal to those who already treasure their specific brand of metal, and that their reach beyond that audience will be more limited.

In conclusion, I find this to be a tight and well made album that resides somewhere inside the more melodic parts of the metalcore universe, arguably with something of an orientation towards alternative metal at that, and while I cannot see the band making a lot of headway beyond that defined audience they should be regarded as a band that merits a check if you tend to fancy bands of this specific orientation.

My rating: 66/100

Track list:
Coming Home // What Justice Is // In the Moment // A Bond of Brothers // Faceless // Moving On // Forever // Fate // Never Giving Up // The Puppets of Heresy


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