Review: Purple Dawn ‘Peace & Doom Session Vol. II’

In the world of stoner and doom, it can sometimes be difficult to stand out. Playing the same fuzzy Sabbbath-inspired riffs over and over, while sometimes immensely satisfying, isn’t exactly a declaration of groundbreaking creativity. So, seems the shift the last decade or so is for bands to get more progressive, stretching songs out, focusing on instrumentation, while incorporating multiple time changes, in an effort to keep things sounding fresh.

Purple Dawn 'Peace & Doom Session Vol. II'

So, if a band is going to stick to the tried-and-true Sabbath-worship, at least do it well, and make it as interesting as you can. Purple Dawn, a power trio out of Cologne Germany, most certainly do that on Peace And Doom Session Vol. II, the follow up to 2020’s well-received debut Peace and Doom Sessions Vol. I, both of which were recorded live in the studio.

Peace & Doom Session Vol. II opens with the instrumental Bonganchamun featuring a tone and riff that instantly reminds me of Psychic Vampire off of Corrosion of Conformity’s 2012 self-titled LP. There’s some commendable riffage from guitarist Timo Fritz, as well excellent bass lines from bassist/vocalist Patrick Rose. Bonganchamun works as a good album opener and mission statement. 100 Years A Day features more notable bass lines from Rose, and we hear his relatively dynamic voice for the first time. Sitting somewhere between a firebreather-esque bark and a hard rock croon, he delivers lyrics with conviction. Fritz also offers some more interesting riffs as the band display a sense of dynamics for sure.

Old Fashioned Black Madness was released as a single, and video, and features one of the most earworm riffs you’ll hear in a long time. A stomping, swaggering riff is complimented by drummer Florian Geiling’s rock steady beat and timely fills. As well, I get another COC-ish vibe from Fritz’s riffing. He’s definitely adding some more ‘chugs’ than usually heard on an average stoner rock release. Additionally, he’s able to incorporate complimentary riffs towards the middle and end that flow well with the main riff. This is definitely a standout track.

Multiple chugging riffs, driving, rumbling bass, steady, behind-the-beat drumming, melded with tempo changes, build ups and break downs…

Meanwhile on the anthemic, and appropriately named in this day and age, Power To The People, Rose channels his inner Neil Fallon, while Fritz and Geiling both make their presence felt, displaying their individuality on their respective instruments. Purple Dawn shift gears on the back end of Peace & Doom Session Vol. II with the slower, more melancholy The Moon Song. Rose sounds great, really crooning and emphasizing his lyrics. Fritz as well, showcases some pretty impressive shreddery. Mid-song the band shift gears all together going super mellow before the inevitable build up on the outro, as the band showcase their groove and sense of timing.

The eight-plus-minute Death To A Dying World serves as the toward-the-end-of-the-record epic, as Purple Dawn put it all on display. Multiple chugging riffs, driving, rumbling bass, steady, behind-the-beat drumming, melded with tempo changes, build ups and break downs as Purple Dawn careen their way to the end, featuring more COC-type riffing. Bonganchamun Part II revisits the opening instrumental and serves as the album closer and bookend, although I’m not sure Peace & Doom Session Vol. II wouldn’t have been more impactful ending proceedings with the aforementioned Death To A Dying World.

While certainly not breaking any new ground, and most definitely residing in the Sabbath-worship side of the stoner spectrum, Purple Dawn offer up a well-executed, interesting stoner doom album, made all the more so by the fact it was recorded live, showcasing the band’s individual musicianship. Additionally, Fritz’s interesting Pepper Keenan/Woody Weatherman-esque chugging riffery made Peace & Doom Session Vol. II stand out from the glut of other releases in this well-trodden genre.

Label: Electric Valley Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Martin Williams