Arco : Three years ago Sacred Dawn from the U.S.A. (Chicago, Illinois to be exactly) surprised us with their debut album 'Gears Of The Machine: A New Beginning' (two years earlier already released as 'Gears Of The Machine') and now releases their second album 'A Madness Within'. In the meantime the quartet became a quintet as Brain Kim (keyboards) joined the band. Guitarist John Vitale and drummer Brad Sabathne were respectively replaced by Mykull en Eddie Foltz.
Influenced by bands such as Dream Theater, Iron maiden, Nevermore, Queensrÿche, Savatage and Fates Warning and sharing the stage with Symphony-X, Testament, Cage, Firewind, Kamelot and Epica. That does something to you and so one can hear on 'A Madness Within' which has become a - rather dark - concept album as the likes of Dream Theater's 'Metropolis, Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory' and Queensrÿche's 'Operation Mindcrime'. Well, one can be compared to lesser albums! The band conglomerates their influences, and experience gained through many performances, together in ten songs in which classic, so eighties, heavy metal; and hard rock are mixed and accommodated with a descend bit of prog. The songs are mainly mid-tempo and reasonably heavy. It takes some time to see through the songs but when done you will be convinced we deal with an exceptional good album that has diverse moods; sensitive in 'It Shall Be', heavy in 'The Untold Story', 'Demonlover', 'Delirium' and 'Wrongfully Accused' (the first clearly a hint to Judas Priest is and the last in real Symphony-X style), melodic in 'A Madness Within', 'What You Did To Me', 'Summer Of Treason', melancholic in 'The Decision' and drama in the epos 'Dawn Of The Day'.
One slight disadvantage are the added 'screams/grunts' that have to give some songs some extra cachet undoubtedly but are not really necessary in my opinion. The tight drumming, the greasy bass, tasteful keyboards, guitar playing, the dark, warm and calm (but aggressive when needed) voice of Keller and the strong songs that come forth from this all make 'A Madness Within' a worthy second album and Sacred Dawn seem to secure their own place in the genre.