Independent Release/Green Media/M.G.M. Distribution
When Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) based act Hatchet Dawn released their debut E.P. ‘Faith In Chaos’ in 2009, it represented the band’s sound well and truly before the band underwent a huge revamp in terms of line-up, and prior to undergoing a transformation in direction and sound. Having spent the last couple of years touring (2009 saw the band supporting Marilyn Manson on his Australian tour) and recording, Hatchet Dawn (Who now comprise of The Symbiosist/Dialysis vocalist Bert Cuzens, The Symbiosist guitarist Das Schmidt, group founder/guitarist Dave ‘Howsie Noise’ Howells, bassist Billie-Jade and drummer D Man) have finally returned with their debut full-length effort ‘Rebirth’.
‘Rebirth’ is a very appropriate title for Hatchet Dawn’s latest release, and it’s not all that hard for anyone familiar with their debut E.P. to understand. ‘Rebirth’ is very much a brand new start, both visually and sonically. To put it into simpler terms, this is nothing like the Hatchet Dawn of two years ago.
After a brief instrumental/sound-effects filled introductory piece (‘Toxic Oracle’), Hatchet Dawn quickly gets things underway with the slow building and moody ‘Planet Of Terror’. Some of the aggression found in Hatchet Dawn’s sound of old still remains in terms of harsh guitar sounds and at certain moments where Cuzens puts in a guttural death growl, but for the most part, Hatchet Dawn have expanded their sound by adding a lot more space on the musical scale (The guitars now share the space with the bass), and allowed the melodies within the choruses to really take the song to a completely different direction. This new sound will no doubt take some fans by surprise, but after giving the song a few listens, it’s near impossible to deny the progression the band has made over their past efforts.
The faster paced ‘Dark Symmetry’ (The first single/promotional video clip from the album) is perhaps as close to the band’s old sound as the album gets (Barring the melodic chorus), and perhaps for that very reason is why it stands as one of the album’s weaker tracks.
Faring much better is the huge and powerful sounding ‘Juggernaut’, the driving and more groove orientated ‘Red Osiris’ and ‘Untold’ (Which is preceded by the short ‘Necromatra’). All three tracks are real standout cuts, and perfectly showcase just how much the band’s song writing has come over the last few years.
The extra emphasis on melody from Cuzens on ‘Mother Destruction’ and ‘River Snake’ brings to mind Maynard James Keenan (Tool/A Perfect Circle/Puscifer) in places, while the title track ‘Rebirth’ is without a doubt the album’s darkest, heaviest and epic sounding track, earning itself another distinction as a genuine highlight on the album.
Despite some really strong efforts, ‘Rebirth’ is a little letdown by some tracks that simply don’t live up to the bar set by the stronger cuts. Sometimes it’s the shortcomings of the choruses, while other times the fault lies with a lack of a solid riff. But either way you look at it, it’s fair to say that over the thirteen tracks on the album, there are some notable filler efforts alongside the sure-fire winners.
But regardless of its flaws, ‘Rebirth’ is a huge step up from where Hatchet Dawn last left listeners on ‘Faith In Chaos’, and that says something about the band’s current line-up, and their newfound musical direction.
For more information on Hatchet Dawn, check out - http://www.hatchetdawn.com/
© Justin Donnelly