LABEL: Frontiers Music srl
RELEASE: December 8th, 2023
AUTHOR: Samantha Shears

EVERDAWN albumrand01. Cassiopeia
02. Century Black
03. Silver Lining
04. Karmic Partner
05. Northern Star
06. Justify The Means
07. The Promise
08. Crimson Dusk And Silver Dawn
09. Venera
10. Orion’s Belt
11. Images Everlasting
12. Samsara
13. Truer Words Ever Spoken
14. Beneath The Well
15. Century Black (Acoustic Version / Bonus Track Japan)

Born from the ashes of MIDNIGHT ETERNAL, the band started anew as EVERDAWN, releasing their first album under the updated moniker and line-up Cleopatra in early 2021. While I liked the eponymous debut of MIDNIGHT ETERNAL, I absolutely loved Cleopatra, a standout album in a strong year for symphonic metal. Now the band continues to shine with their latest offering Venera, their first release under Frontiers Records.

The instrumentation, often leaning heavily into power metal territory, impresses immediately, with album opener Cassiopeia showcasing Richard Fischer’s intricate guitar work within the first minute. Guitars have a strong presence everywhere across the album, from the beautiful Spanish guitar on instrumental track Crimson Dusk And Silver Dawn to the acoustic flourishes on Beneath The Well, and plenty of soaring solos and high-octane shredding throughout the entire record. The talent does not end here – Dan Prestup sets the pace with his fast drumming on the infectious Silver Lining, the bass-heavy The Promise” shows off Alan D’Angelo’s skills, and the keyboards of Boris Zaks provide a dose of nostalgia. The catchy, uplifting melodies of Century Black and Orion’s Belt would feel right at home on an AMBERIAN DAWN album.EVERDAWN bandpicClassically trained soprano Alina Gavrilenko has a voice that is truly divine. While she sang primarily with a lyrical approach on Cleopatra, her vocals are more versatile this time around, adding a powerful rock-oriented sound into the mix. We got a taste of that on the previous record with Your Majesty Sadness and, to a lesser extent, The Last Eden, and I still recall thinking it a shame we didn’t get to hear a little more of it. There is plenty of both vocal styles here on Venera, and the contrast it creates makes the Alina’s full operatic swell stand out even more, like during the sweeping chorus of Northern Star.

The pristine mixing and mastering by Jacob Hansen on Venera is also worth noting. Known for working with bands such as Amaranthe, Delain and Ad Infinitum, Hansen never fails to deliver a quality product, and this release is no exception.

As much as the album has to offer, it can be almost too much at times, making it difficult to digest for the first listen or two. There is simply a lot going on here. The first eight tracks all clock in under four minutes each, and they gallop by at a speedy pace, leaving little space to breathe. Still, many of the album’s most memorable tracks, namely Century Black, Silver Lining and Northern Star in my view, are part of this initial set. The longer tracks, including the over twelve minute Truer Words Ever Spoken, are all on the back half, and while the structure of the album makes sense, it does contribute to a feeling of fatigue by the end. I felt like I got a much better feel for Truer Words Ever Spoken, a track that incorporates sounds from many musical styles and eras, by listening to it on its own.

After this bit of critique, I do want to make it clear that I thoroughly enjoyed Venera, especially upon repeated listens. All five bandmates give stellar performances, and I would absolutely recommend checking out this band, especially to those who enjoy early Nightwish, Amberian Dawn or Pythia. I wish the band every success and I can’t wait to hear more music from them in the future.

WEBSITE: https://www.everdawn.org