New Dawn Rising

Dawn After Dark

DAWN AFTER DARK are back. The Birmingham band that made a massive noise in the […]
Dawn After Dark - New Dawn Rising album cover

DAWN AFTER DARK are back. The Birmingham band that made a massive noise in the '80s with three EPs on the much-admired Chapter 22 label has finally returned with a new album, "New Dawn Rising," and a sound that's bigger and better than ever. Between 1986 and 1989 the band toured all over the UK, playing many headline shows, but internal combustion saw the group implode in 1991. Fast forward to 2019, and out of the blue a promoter called. In September 2019 DAWN AFTER DARK appeared live on stage for the first time in almost three decades. Dean Brown, owner of Chapter 22, the label that first signed the band all those years ago, immediately asked the band to re-sign and "come back home." It wasn't a hard decision...The new album contains eleven tracks.

"Maximum Overdrive" leads off the album. It begins with some mean guitar rhythms and a thick, full sound. The singer sound like he never missed a beat in the past 30+ years and still has a snarly voice that he can use to hit emotional peaks. This is a fantastic song! "The Day the World and I Parted Company" might be a reference to the split up of the band during their heyday. The guitars are so full of effects and a good band knows how to use them as they do. The mid-section features an interesting few minutes of jamming with some thumpy bass notes. The chorus returns at the end.

"The Groove" showcases the more care-free and fun sound of the 1980s, when all a guy needed was some cool jams and a sunny day. I am now wondering how I never heard of this band before, being in my prime when they were touring the UK. "When Will You Come Home to Me" is a slower and more emotional song as the title suggests. Much of the impact comes from the chorus which hits you like a warm breeze on a cold day. Singing along won't even be a's mandatory. "Nothing Can Fulfil Me (Without your Love)" is a faster-moving song with a dirty, sleazy riff and the strong vocals of Howard. I can picture the band jamming in the studio with wide smiles and a cocksure attitude. "The Shifting Sands of Time" begins with meaty bass guitar and some lead guitar notes. It's a more pensive and introspective piece that features both elements of darkness as well as some light.

"Crystal High" begins with a jovial, fun-loving riff and some nice vocal harmonies. They go for broke in the chorus, with some lead guitar notes. The notes are full and soar high. "(I'm Not) The Man I Used to be" is a slower, and softer song with melodic notes, especially in the vocals. It picks up nicely in the chorus, with more positive tones, followed by a short guitar solo. "Her Sleep" is a really pretty song focusing on the band's sense of melody and longing. The verses are smooth and pleasing and turn to power in the choruses, affirming the band's aptitude for writing catchy songs. "Truth and Freedom" closes the album, and what two words could go better together?

I would be remiss if I did not thank the band for their use of bassist Drew Gallon. Far too many times, the bass gets mixed out, even unwittingly. I love his chunky tone. With that aside, I am very glad that Chapter 22 Records helped to revive a band that has clearly made it through the long storm and come out the other side, perhaps a bit older, but is no worse for the wear. These eleven songs are energetic and memorable, and they have a new fan here. Their command of melody seems unchanged as does their youthful approach to creating music. Well done, lads, well done.

8 / 10









"New Dawn Rising" Track-listing:

1. Maximum Overdrive
2. The Day the World and I Parted Company
3. Dead on Time
4. The Groove
5. When Will You Come Home to Me?
6. Nothing Can Fulfil Me (Without Your Love)
7. The Shifting Sands of Time
8. Crystal High
9. (I'm Not) The Man I Used to Be
10. Her Sleep
11. Truth and Freedom

Dawn After Dark Lineup:

Howard 'H' Johnson - Vocals
Ollie - Lead Guitar
Russ Frame - Rhythm Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals
Drew Gallon - Bass
Tony Henderson - Drums, Backing Vocals

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