Archetype - Dawning

Year of Release: 2002
Label: independent
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 66:42:00

Ever since the nineties came into business, progressive metal has decidedly turned away from sheer guitar power and drenched itself in lush synthesizer leads that are miles away from the twin guitar elegance that once was king of these realms. Exceptions certainly do exist, but even those fail to hark back to the halcyon days of harmonized melodies intertwined with the sheer power of refined thrash and power metal, so that what is still an excellent avenue of exploration has been left gathering dust for years, and will apparently do so for many more to come. Except the members of Archetype are not going to stand still and watch helplessly while that happens.

No, this four-man unit is hellbent on resurrecting the rich traditions that were once common fare in the eighties and approaching them from a perspective that on several tracks is remarkably flawless and undeniably engaging. Chris Matyus' guitar work is phenomenal in its blistering activity and precise sense of timeliness, Greg Wagner's vocals are a fine-tuned engine with a comprehensive range and taste for notes, and Keith Zeigler and Jamie Still form a juggernaut rhythm section, so that the entire band works like a well-oiled machine with its accelerator stuck to the floor, and then some.

And the result is indeed refreshing in a time during which original progressive metal becomes increasingly scarcer, not to mention the fact that the vast majority of it has become quite polished and, despite its awesome heaviness at times, not really aggressive when compared to many metal bands out there. Archetype, in the meantime, brings the force back to the forefront and couples it with the high technical standards expected from bands in this genre, spicing the combination up with unforgettable choruses and riffs that seem to drill inside one's mind and refuse to leave after grafting themselves there. There is a lot of what is known as old school at work here, but Dawning is not exactly the kind of album that one expects to have been stuck in a state of suspended animation for the last fifteen years or so.

Some could instead argue that this band is too late to jump in the game, but despite a few rough edges here and there, and the fact that the album does lose its steam near the end, Dawning is an outstanding effort that proves that Archetype has what it takes to enter the big leagues. The title track is both touching in its clean guitar opening and riveting in its anthem-like verses, "Inside Your Dreams" features a killer chorus with rapid-fire harmonized lead breaks, "Visionary" is led forward by a quirky riff that vaguely reminds one of the Middle East, and "Final Day" is uncompromisingly heavy without forsaking the band's general sense of assertive finesse. Definitely a band to keep under very close scrutiny in the coming years.

Similar artists: Mid-period Fates Warning, Control Denied, Symphony X, early Flotsam and Jetsam

Final Day (6:32) / Hands Of Time (4:28) / Dawning (6:58) / Dissension's Wake (5:25) / Inside Your Dreams (6:08) / Premonitions (6:48) / Visionary (6:52) / Arisen (5:08) / The Mind's Eye (5:23) / Years Ago (12:37)

Chris Matyus - guitars
Greg Wagner - vocals
Keith Zeigler - drums
Jamie Still - bass

Archetype (demo) (1998)
Hands Of Time (1999)
Dawning (2002/2004)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: April 21st 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 987
Language: english


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