Dawnbringer: Night Of The Hammer

Chicago’s trad metallers embark on a Maiden voyage

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Formed in 1997, this Chicago quartet have taken it slow and steady in the build-up to this, their sixth full-length album, and in doing so have quietly blossomed into one of the most unique and fascinating trad metal acts around.

The brainchild of vocalist/bassist/drummer/keyboardist Chris Black, the band have previously flirted with black, death and thrash, but Night Of The Hammer sees them exploring the Maiden, Dio and Sabbath influences which worked so well in the past (the blastbeats and growling vocals of Not Your Night a notable exception), injecting a few progressive passages along the way. The sheer substance, luminosity and sparks of genius which made 2010’s Nucleus and 2012 follow-up Into The Lair Of The Sun God so memorable are present by the bucketload, and Chris Black’s novel approach to arrangement and melody will keep you guessing. Although constructed on a truly grand scale, songs such as Hands Of Death and One-Eyed Sister are as thought-provoking as they are thunderous, making Night Of The Hammer one of the must-hear outings of the year.

Via Profound Lore