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Album Review: Dawn of Winter – Pray for Doom

Considering Dawn of Winter’s glacial approach to traditional doom, it only makes sense for these Germans to release a new full-length album once every decade. Pray for Doom is full of the post-Vitus quirks that longtime fans expect, as extremely drawn out riffs are set to trudging tempos while gleefully sinister vocals warble above them. The fact that the lineup has remained unchanged in twenty-five years further reinforces the band’s commitment to their chosen aesthetic.

The musicians themselves have also held up well in that time. As indicated by the new albums Battleroar and Angel of Damnation also released in 2018, Gerrit P. Mutz’s voice sounds great and he has more control over his Reagers-style wail than ever before. The guitar also maintains its rawness though its cavernous tone results in a more bottom-heavy sound than past albums. On the flip side, the rhythm section doesn’t get too many standout moments, but the drums are consistently solid.

This solidness can also be seen in the songwriting. While the songs all revolve around the same sluggish pacing, there are enough individual traits to keep them from sounding interchangeable. “A Dream Within a Dream” starts things off on an appropriate dirge that becomes a more active chug on tracks like “The Thirteenth of November” of “The Sweet Taste of Ruin.” The title track may also be the band’s best ballad-oriented track yet and the percussive touches of “The Orchestra Bizarre” make for a fascinating outlier.

Seeing how Dawn of Winter was seemingly started for the sake of creating Saint Vitus comfort food, it’s safe to say their third full-length album scratches that old itch. While 1998’s In the Valley of Tears may still be the band’s defining effort, it’s great to see the musicians sound this good and comfortable on Pray for Doom. Hopefully, the world won’t be too doomed when they come back around in 2028…

Highlights:
“A Dream Within a Dream”
“The Thirteenth of November”
“The Sweet Taste of Ruin”
“Pray for Doom”

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