Text : Florian Baudouin

Formed in 2013, Dawn Harbor, Lyon-based modern metal band, has been performing all over Lyon, without ever really managing to export themselves. But they have some arguments to put forward. With a first EP “Horizon” released in 2017, the sextet is back with “Half a World Away”, a first album that has been carefully thought out.

To put it trivially, you have to be quite ballsy to attempt a concept album as a first try. It is precisely to work on this risky project that the band decided, in 2019, to take a concert break (which turned anyway into a forced break, but that’s another subject). During this album, we discover the story of a protagonist trying to reach a mythical place where he could find some freedom and reach his own utopia. 

The album opens with “The Shores”, a keyboard intro that slowly builds tension until “Departure”, which immediately sets the tone for the album. The presence of three guitars is exploited in the best way, with heavy riffs accompanied by omnipresent harmonies, double solos… The chorus is focused on melody with an almost power metal side, that we could easily imagine in the OST of a Japanese anime. The influence of Trivium from the Shogun period is obvious. We have the impression that the mix is a bit shaky on this track, especially on the vocals, which seem to be very discreet compared to the rest and a bit “dry”, slightly lacking in reverb. This will be completely erased on the other tracks, so we won’t hold it against them.

The album is extraordinarily varied: we find the modern metalcore and old school heavy influences that we already knew, but also blues, even jazz on “More Than Meets The I” with a fabulous saxophone solo. After a keyboard interlude, we even get a power ballad, “Hourglass”. The title track “Half a World Away” explores more of the band’s progressive side, with a melodic break halfway through. The final track, “Burying the Radiance”, closes the album with a fine mirror effect, using the last line of “Departure”.

On the vocal level, we find the whole palette of Simon Vimort, between furious screams, powerful high-pitched passages, or more low pitched. Everything is there, even a short passage on “Forsaken Path” evoking Mongolian diphonic chants.

This album is a real success and let’s remember that it’s ONLY their first one. It will now be necessary to work hard to pass the second album stage, but all in due time. For the moment, we can’t wait to see them on stage again to promote this first album!

Photo credit : Jonathan Bouillaux