by Geoff Teach
Brutality…anger management issues…yearning to be young forever…these are just some of the things that make metal great. To those of us who understand it, some of the most beautiful and visceral characteristics of metal are the ones that are also the ugliest and most remorseless. Approaching Dawn’s members understand this, embrace it, and apply it. Made up of members Keroin Dawn (vocals), Rick Ramig (guitars, backing vocals), Steve Scott (guitars, backing vocals), Bill W. (bass), and Patrick Newell (drums), Approaching Dawn has no problem with getting in touch with their animalistic instincts and using them to create some of the most barbarous and galvanic music being made in the Chicago area today, culminating in the 2012 release, “Evolution of Reality.” When asked as to the reasoning behind their music, A.D. answer with an organic and logical response: “As a group, what we’re doing is very thought-provoking and very brutal,” says Keroin. “We’re not selling love. We’re not selling sex. We’re selling brutality, emotion, anger, and logic. That’s the core of what we’re doing. The album, “Evolution of Reality”, is very relevant, lyrically and musically, and when you look ahead ten or fifteen years, we think it will still be just as modern-sounding of an album, and just as relevant. You can’t really date it. It has a great core to it that we feel is everlasting.” This aspiration to continued pertinence, coupled with their logical approach to song construction, has a lot of heads in the area turning to take notice of Approaching Dawn and their brand of anger-fueled music.
Consequently, there is no denying the cold, calculated, and ruthless feel of the music, and it’s only natural that it ends up sounding and feeling this way. “I have anger issues,” says Steve semi-sarcastically when asked about why it is that he and Rick write the songs with the sheer heaviness as they do. “It comes from a long history with all of us listening to metal. We all grew up listening to heavy music. I still have the anger of a teenager inside of me, and it just naturally comes out playing metal riffs. I’m a very pissed off individual [musically],” adds Rick, and while we spent plenty of time laughing during the interview process, I do not doubt for one moment that both of Approaching Dawn’s axe-men are completely sincere when saying that their anger drives the music. There are no paradoxes here. Anger is an emotion that every human feels daily, and while most of the world tries to run and hide from it, A.D. takes it and uses it as cordwood to stoke the fire that keeps the musical locomotive churning. “We actually have songs written on the album and [while] we thought they were done a couple of times [before recording them], and we played them out and perfected them…and then we changed them. We came up with something better. When it comes to how we write the songs and how we go about it, we’re never really satisfied. We find that works out well,” says Keroin, and this music critic couldn’t agree more, as the album sounds fantastic musically, emotionally, and in its production.
Do not be fooled, though, into thinking that Approaching Dawn is only about bringing the callousness and nothing else. Songs on “Evolution of Reality” such as “Madness Fable” and “Crawl” put the truest talents of A.D. on full display. On songs like these, Steve and Rick show off their chops as songwriters, incorporating resplendently soft, ethereal guitar riffs and melodic backing vocals into the dynamics. When I asked if there were plans for more songs to be crafted in the same manner for future recordings, Rick replied, “I think so. I think “Crawl” is actually very close to what we’re trying to capture. We’re trying to capture a very diverse range. We want [the music] to be very heavy, but we also want it to be very melodic, with a “calm-before-the-storm” kind of an approach to it, because it really makes the heavy parts stand out. It sounds more epic when you have arrangements like that. The way that song played out, it’s a strong song, and we want to write more songs like that that are catchy, but also have a lot of technicality and really fast riffs…it’s got a little bit of everything in it. Having a nice dynamic interplay between the soft parts and the heavy parts is something I’ve always been attracted to as a musician when I listen to music. I like bands that have those different contrasts in tones, and the mixes between the heavy parts and the soft parts. You can’t just be full-out brutality all the time.” “When we’re putting together songs, we tend to be pretty critical about all of the big riffs, the small riffs, the transitions, and things like that. There’s a lot of attention of detail,” adds Bill. With a plan of attack on songwriting and recording like this, Approaching Dawn should have no trouble at all making the world take notice of their sound. They’re not out to fool anyone; they just want to get you to think outside of your own box and to rock out to their brutal, captivating sound, and I, for one, will be continuing to do so for hopefully many years to come.
Approaching Dawn is opening for Lamb of God and Hatebreed November 9 at the Rave/Eagle’s Club in Milwaukee.
Get tickets from the band on Facebook:
Approaching Dawn is also featured on
the Chicago Metal Alliance’s
Alliance 13 Experience CD Compilation.
Check out the Showcase Event November 4 at Exit.
Hear Approaching Dawn’s Evolution of Reality, Crawl, and In Search of An Exit on the November Rock in Chicago Show.