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Lithium Dawn: Tearing Back The Veil I - Ascension

West Coast tech-metal gurus recalibrate the foundations

As tech-metal chases its tail, meticulous studio nerds Lithium Dawn have discovered a fresh approach.

There are plenty of familiar djent-era tropes on their second album, but theirs is a more soulful, atmospheric and ingenious sound that borrows audaciously but skilfully from psychedelic trance and arse-levelling digital dub reggae while never forgetting to keep the pristine, futuristic riffs front and centre.

Songs like B’ak’tun, and Labyrinthian exhibit a subtle debt to Devin Townsend’s shimmering barrage and have more than enough melodic clout to win over fans of Tesseract and Periphery, but it’s the hypnotic throb of the bass that sets these Californians apart from the prog metal pack. On the spinetingling Synchronicity, Lithium Dawn sound enraptured by their own craftmanship and at one with the sonic cosmos.

The key to the album’s formidable efficacy lies in it these songs’ stately, naturalistic flow. This is the sound of a well-worn formula being mischievously dismantled and rebuilt with loftier goals attached.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.