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Dawn Of A New Age

F5 - Dawn Of A New Age ©2000 Vortex Records;
1. Dawn Of A New Age
2. You Don't Know Me
3. Inspired Kingdom
4. The Silence
5. Come Into The Light
6. It's All In Your Mind
7. The Coming
8. Eye Of The Storm
9. New Millennium (Chapter 2)
10. You Don't Know Me (radio Edit)

Imagine this scenario. Projekt Records has several of their darkwave and ambient oriented artist busy recording in the studio when suddenly two of the members of Fear Factory burst in, demanding studio time. A tussle ensues but luckily the vicious Projekt Records musicians are able to contain the Fear Factory boys and eventually a compromise is reached. That compromise, if you can imagine one, seemingly has been realized by F5, a South Carolina hybrid of heavy metal and an electronic/ambient style of music.

F5 is a duo and if one were to judge solely by the CD art, you might think it's some guitar wizard showoff release, but that's very far from the truth. Chris Rifkin, the man behind the initial impetus of the project, handles all the instrumentation, ranging from guitar to keyboards and drum programming. According to the band's website, Rifkin discovered vocalist Leanne Serao singing along to her radio at her work and thus, the creative union was forged. Much of F5's music is a bit of a juxtaposition of trancelike, serene, drawn-out keyboard waves layered with crunchy, rhythmic and heavy guitars. Over all of this floats Serao's soothing, airy voice. Some of the material reminds me slightly of latter-day Hawkwind ambience, while at other times the backdrop reminds of the same approach Love Spirals Downwards used on 1998's Flux. The guitars constantly provide a healthy amount of grit and crunch using staccatto rhythms that seemed to often be associated with Fear Factory. However, unlike Fear Factory, Rifkin is not afraid to have leads and solos as well. The songs all contain a certain flair for melodic memorability, particularly "You Don't Know Me". (As an amusing sidenote, the radio edit version of that song features a sudden dropout and Macintosh "Quack" noise at 2:03. Apparently Rifkin's computer felt the need to be involved in the music as well.)

Dawn of a New Age is a surprising and highly enjoyable first release from this duo. With any luck their creative juices will continue to flow on future releases and metal can have their own version of Love Spirals Downwards.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/2001

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