This year has been a very good year for debut albums. It seems like bands are actually taking time to put all of their resources into these albums instead of just pushing them out. Another band that keeps the great debut flow going is Winter Dawn. Their album “By Embers Embraced,” doesn’t really tread any new ground but it’s still pretty awesome. The production is questionable in some spots, but this band has that “something” that could make them well known. “By Embers Embraced” is catchy, epic and definitely worth a listen.
The album opens up with “Where Wings Are Torn” and it showcases some impressive keyboards, melodies and use of multiple vocalists. It’s just enough to give them their own sound. “Rising Star” has a neat keyboard intro but then it slips into something that I like to call music purgatory. It’s not bad, but it’s not good. The song really doesn’t go anywhere and it just feels a little uninspired. The melodies are there, it just needed a little more “oomph” from a production stand point. “My Desolation” starts with the most killer riff on the album. The guitars and keyboards sound perfect together and this is one hell of a showpiece for the band. It’s one of the best tracks on the album hands down. “A New Dawn” is another track that tends to trudge along. The harsh vocals are a nice touch, but not enough to make this track a must listen. “Cape Farewell” brings the album back to the sound started on “My Desolation.” What it lacks in riffs, it makes up for in melody. This is quite possibly the best song on the album. The entire track just feels complete and solid. Then we move on to “The White Rose pt. 1: Thorn Apart” which is a good song (though the vocals sound kind of like Avenged Sevenfold) in its own right but is completely overshadowed by “The White Rose pt. 2: Prosperity.” Both are good but Prosperity is another track that shows what this band is capable of. It’s catchy as hell and it has a great verse. The album closes with “Tears of Ice” which couldn’t have been a better spot for this song. Another great track on the album, it feels like everything that came before it all rolled into one. It’s heartfelt, sincere and symphonic. The album couldn’t have been wrapped up any better.
Winter Dawn has what it takes to make a name for themselves. With tracks like “Cape Farewell” and “Tears of Ice”, it’s hard to completely ignore them. If the production is better on the next album and they find a way to refine that “big” sound they’re going for, they have the recipe for a classic. But as it stands, “By Embers Embraced” is a great debut record with a couple of shortcomings. They are better than half the bands that are signed to major labels and they probably put 100% more effort and work into their songs. If you’re a fan of symphonic metal, don’t pass this up. “By Embers Embraced” might really surprise you.
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