Review Summary: By finishing the story of their debut, Lithium Dawn continues to reach new heights.
Despite numerous faults, there is still merit to the djent movement that the metal scene has witnessed the rise of over the years. While some acts are very clearly guilty of having too heavy of a focus on technicality and stripping the music of any emotion whatsoever, it’s typically the bands who are capable of implementing elements of djent into a more engaging atmosphere that are worth keeping on your radar. Belonging to the latter category, Lithium Dawn has always been much harder to pin down stylistically than the likes of Meshuggah, and it’s not hard to see why. Their dynamic approach to progressive music combines djent with a more subdued, melodic approach that leans closer to the likes of Tool or Devin Townsend’s solo work than the likes of Periphery or TesseracT.
is another stage in their musical development, as the band builds off their Tearing Back the Veil
series while progressing into newer territory. The four men in Lithium Dawn have proven multiple times that they are more than a shell of their influences, and the eight songs on this album are no exception. This album shows lead singer Ondrej Tvarozek’s progression as a vocalist, as this is the first Lithium Dawn release to feature harsh vocals, most notably on “Escape Velocity” and closer “Singularity”. His usual gritty croon is as strong as ever, albeit still bearing a slight resemblance to former Three Days Grace singer Adam Gontier. Tvarozek isn’t a one-trick pony either, as his involvement includes the atmospheric soundscapes littered across each song. The instrumental interludes “Blue to Red” and “Interloper” perfectly illustrate that dynamic, taking a step back from the driving metallic ambience of “Escape Velocity”, “Event Horizon”, and “Valles Marineris”.
As the spiritual successor to Lithium Dawn’s debut album AION
, this album shows a great deal of growth in the six years that divide the two releases. The story of Gravity Waves
is futuristic in its essence, although it doesn’t seem to be fully realized when analyzing its lyrical content at first glance. While “Escape Velocity” still references the off-world expulsion detailed in its intro “Subject 2029”, a great deal of the content revolves around the Subject’s emotional turmoil following the events described in its opener. “Valles Marineris”, “Event Horizon”, and “Singularity” have occasional nods to the overarching narrative while still taking a primarily first-person stance. The story is woven fairly loosely where its lyrics are concerned, leaving for a more accessible experience overall. Fortunately, it’s entirely possible to overlook its more straightforward approach to writing and soak in the atmosphere as a whole.
Lithium Dawn is a band with immense potential, and they’ve been proving it repeatedly. Taking the atmospheric approach to this genre has allowed them to rise above the dime-a-dozen djenters that come and go in the scene. By pooling from more atmospheric influences to a greater degree, they have achieved yet another milestone in what was meant to be not much more than a successor to AION.
They trimmed enough of the fat that causes many progressive metal albums to feel overlong with Gravity Waves
, and as a result it ended up becoming a stronger work overall. While that may be why the band classed this as an EP rather than a full-length album despite exceeding the thirty-minute mark, it’s no doubt that this is a sign of things to come for the band.