When I popped in Taking Dawn’s debut CD, Time To Burn, I got through the first song before I had to turn it off and deal with life’s trivialities. A few hours later I found myself singing over and over again “Let me hear you sing, Halle-Fuckin’-lujah!!!” It took me a few minutes to realize where it came from. Yes, Taking Dawn. The album’s title track is a nice way to kick off an incredible album, and it’s bound to get stuck in your head too.
Las Vegas is steeped in talent that is just now starting to be noticed. Dario Lorina, Sin City Sinners, Five Finger Death Punch (sort of), Adelitas Way, and now Taking Dawn, are but a few. Perhaps the gambling, sin and heat are doing something to these guys. Regardless, it’s a hotbed of wicked metal and rock and roll (no pun intended).
Taking Dawn is comprised of best friends, vocalist/guitarist Chris Babbitt, and guitarist Mikey Cross, who were actually born in the same hospital into the hands of the same doctor. The two even appeared together as security guards to the stars on True TV’s Rehab show. Rounding out the line up are bassist Andrew Cushing, and skin pounder Alan Doucette.
Now having had a chance to soak in the rest of the album, I find myself infinitely more intrigued than at first listen. On first spin, one is instantly struck with a return to 80’s hair metal. But to peg them as simply a glam throw back would be a disservice to the quartet. The band certainly embraces that vintage 80’s metal flare, but they blend it nicely with a modern feel and vibe. Crisp guitars with winding melodies and high-impact drumming.
The first single is the title track, “Time To Burn.” The song has a unique flair in style and sound, a mix of 80’s revelry with modern blast beats. The band released a video for the single, which includes a fun moment taking a jab at Kanye West’s, Taylor Swift debacle. Two names you never expect to read in a metal magazine.
“Like A Revolution” is like a musical drag race. The flag drops to galloping guitars and thundering drums in a chase to the hooky chorus that will have you mindlessly flailing your arms and stomping your feet ala air-drums mode. It also has a sticky sweet guitar solo.
I’m a riot ripping through your head
Burn, burn, burn
C’mon and try it, I’m a riot revving in the red
Like a revolution!
A slow rolling almost Maidenish guitar riff opens “Take Me Away,” before your sucked into another rollicking sing-along rocker.
“So Loud,” bolts out the gates, an anthem to the “if it’s too loud, you’re too fucking old,” mantra we all raised our fists to as teens. “Turn it up!”
“Close Your Eyes” slows the gallop to a trot, for the balladesque lament on trying to shut out the pain of love lost, and the anguish of hoping your former lover might be feeling the same hurt.
“Godless” has a very modern metal feel to it. A visceral gut clencher, with a moody intro. “I am not a man of superstition, but your body’s my religion…” An ode to the darkness within human sexuality and desire. “Preach to me.”
The album ends on a stunning remake of the Fleetwood Mac classic, “The Chain.” This has a heavier, darker, and bluesier feel than the original, with some sweet harmony vocals. An excellent end to the disc. The band’s original plan had been to cover W.A.S.P.s “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast),” which I hope to hear them do some day, but I think “The Chain” better fits the continuity of this record.
The entire 11-track album is filled with raw energy, attitude, melody and hustle. Did I say attitude? Yeah, lots of that. It bleeds through on every track, in every lyric. Les Paul’s and big balls, attitude!!!
While the band demoed their songs with Jason Suecof (Mutiny Within, Trivium, All That Remains), they hit the studio at the hands of Elvis Baskette (Chevelle, Incubus). Hey, Vegas, Elvis, it had to be.
The album is set to drop on January 26th, so circle the date. If you miss 80’s metal it’s a must have, but if you simply like pure shake the rafters, bang your head, and fuck the landlord rock and roll, then you need to check them out. Halle-fucking-lujah!
For those of you into rankings, 8.75 of 10 stars, or A- for you college edumacated types.