Dead of Night – In Search of Ancient Magic
Release Date: 22/02/2017
Running Time: 57:54
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
For years, the symphonic metal genre has been dominated by the Europeans and the Scandinavians, leaving the British bands somewhat lagging behind. That, however, is about to change as good old Blighty has a new band on the scene, and they play symphonic metal just as well as, if not better, than their predecessors.
Dead of Night are a five piece band from Manchester in the North West of England, and if this album, their third, is anything to go by they are going to take the genre by storm.
Formed in 2013 by composer Carl Eden, who needed an outlet for his compositions, their first album, The Dead Shall Rise, was released in 2014. With Carl playing most of the parts and accompanied by just a singer, it was soon clear he needed a guitarist. After a few personnel changes, which included the recruitment of new singer Briony Featon, guitarist Dan Roberts and bassist Jason Peacock, they decided to re-record the debut album under the new name of The Dead Shall Rise Again, this time with the new band members. This was also accompanied by their first live performance at The Railway in Bolton, UK.
In Search of Ancient Magic is their third album and it is hard to recognise it as an independent release, the production and musicianship being second to none. Described on their own promo notes as “neo-prog folk symphonic rock/metal….kinda,” this shows just what a wide spectrum they cover. Combining the sounds of bands such as Nightwish, Kamelot and Leverage to name a few, this is a band of diverse talent.
Opening and closing with Gandalf-esque spoken word passages, its gives the impression this is a concept album, which it isn’t, but I do feel there should be more of these spoken passages throughout the album.
However, this does not take away from the awesomeness of this album. The keyboard wizardry of Carl Eden gives an air of magic and mystique, and I am not sure if this is just another talent from Carl’s keyboards, but the stringed instruments add that element of symphony and grandeur and I can just imagine these guys on stage supported by a full string orchestra.
I love the use of sound effects throughout the album, adding that simple touch that brings fantasy to life and the time changes veer the band into neo-prog territory while maintaining their symphonic sound. In a genre that is saturated with female vocalists, Briony is a breath of fresh air, reminding me a lot of the Annette-era of Nightwish and her fantastic voice is showcased on the Hiraeth, a beautiful ballad half way through the album.
All the musicians turn in a fantastic performance, working well together and proving that even a band that’s been together for just a few years can achieve the same sound as a band who have been around decades.
My favourite track is Across the East Riding, which along with Child of Wolves, are two of the rockier songs on the album, mixing heavy riffs with choral backing vocals.
This really is a great album and one that I am glad I had the pleasure to review. I will definitely be checking out their debut album (both versions of it) and looking forward to anything they bring out in the future.
This band will make themselves a name in the symphonic metal genre and I, for one, think that it will be a BIG one too!
And recent news on the band’s website says they have now signed with Flare and Flame records, in partnership with Riff Media so they are definitely destined for big things!!
1. One Night Holy
2. In Search Of Ancient Magic
3. I Will Go Down To the Sea
4. Child of Wolves
6. Michael Faraday
7. If I Would Be King
8. The Old Straight Track
9. The Might of the Deep
10. Across the East Riding
11. The Other Side of the Rain
Carl Eden – Drums, Keyboards
Briony Featon – Vocals
Jason Peacock – Bass
Dan Roberts – Guitars
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