the press about SHADES OF DAWN
( German reviews ? click here )
Click here for "From Dusk Till Dawn" -Reviews :
For "Dawn Of Time" reviews please click here
For "Graffity's Rainbow" reviews please click here
From Dusk Till Dawn Reviews:
Shades of Dawn – From Dusk till Dawn
Hans-Jürgen Klein actually took issue with the Gary Wright comparison
when the review of The Dawn of Time came out a few years ago. I never
got the chance to apologize online, so I guess now's a good time ...
sorry about that, Herr Klein. It wasn't supposed to be an insult ... I
actually sorta like Gary Wright, though I'm guessing it was the
implication that The Dawn of Time had some poppy leanings which was the
real problem. So now, here we are in 2007 with a new release from
Shades of Dawn, and a new chance to put my foot in my mouth.
Let's see if I can do better this time.
From Dusk Till Dawn is actually the band's first album
chronologically, recorded in 1994. Well, sort of. The band did a 16-track recording,
but soon discovered that this was not enough tracks to get the sound they were looking for.
They gave up on this album and recorded The Dawn of Time. Then, in 2003,
they resurrected the earlier recordings and re-recorded some of the parts
they didn't like from the first recording
(correcting, for instance, microphone placement errors, etc.) and
adding four newly-recorded tracks. In the interim, founding member Wolfgang
Schmidt died of a heart attack in 2000, and so this CD is dedicated to
Once again, I'll have to say this isn't a particularly "difficult"
album, containing very melodic music. But it's not simplistic either ...
very symphonic, with string-patched polysynths and organ thickening the
sound behind the vocals and guitar and analog synth solos. The vocals
are also not particularly difficult, but are easy on the ears singing
lyrics on many topics, such as "President Why", a question which may be
equally validly asked about the leaders of many counties. The lyrics
are in English, and sometimes the syntax is odd enough that it's obviously
written by someone for whom English isn't their first language. Still,
it's always comprehensible. The unusual use of language is actually
charming in its own way, and the slight German accents are not at all
For my taste, From Dusk Till Dawn is a better album than The Dawn of
Time, and I liked Dawn of Time just fine. And they're not resting on
their laurels, either ... they are working on a new album, titled
Graffity's Rainbow, though they're not making any promises about a
release date. And they're still "the only progressive rock band from
Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock
This is a German band that made recordings halfway the Nineties but it lasted until 2006 to release this album.
The CD From Dusk Till Dawn contains 11 compositions, four are re- recorded a few years ago.
Shades Of Dawn's sound is mainly in the realm of the neo- prog like early Marillion and IQ
but without being a copycat. I am pleased with the tasteful and varied arrangements with a modern sound,
from dreamy and spacey to fluent and bombastic. A strong point is the interplay between the guitar
and keyboards but I am also delighted about the wonderful, often howling guitar runs and the pleasant
keyboards work (from harpsichord and organ to string-ensemble and choir-Mellotron sounds).
Due to the slight German accent and the melodic and harmonic sound, Shades Of Dawn's music reminds
me at some moments of Austrian band Eela Craig but less symphonic and with a more modern sound.
To me this CD is a pleasant effort that will appeal to the neo-prog fans.
Erik Neuteboom, Prog Archives (USA)
This is a modern band with strong symphonic components.
They bring a classic prog sound (Yes, Camel, Eloy) into the present.
For a band that can't seem to keep a steady group together,
they manage to keep going.
H.T. Riekels Prog Archives
"Dawn Of Time"-Reviews :
"....to recommend to any symphonic prog fan."
First thing that comes to my mind after listening to
this German band is the clear English all the songs are sung in.
Second, flawless instrumentation and performance.
Shades of Dawn is a band performing symphonic prog
influenced by many great bands of the 70's and yet
manages to implement in their personal touches that
makes this album very interesting and enjoyable to listen.
You can hear the hints of Camel, Yes, Marillion, Pink Floyd or Eloy.
Each song sounds like a mini suite carefully arranged
and performed with easiness and flavor that sounds
like every verse and note is exactly where it's belongs.
Each member of the band does his job very well, and
you really can't find a flaw in their performance.
Most of the album is rather mid tempo with broad use
of keyboard against a good sharp guitar, nice drumming
resulting that great full symphonic sound we were used
to hear by Pink Floyd or Eloy.
Very accessible and yet not to poppy, this is really good debut album
that I won't hesitate to recommend to any symphonic prog fan.
Where have you been since 1998?
(Mark, ProGGnosis USA)
SHADES OF DAWN (vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass & drums) plays
Progressive rock with elegant melodies, illuminated by soft keyboard harmonies.
Musically the band plays a classical style of progressive rock drawing their
influences from numerous legendary bands from the seventies.
Where powerful guitars, elaborated melodies and varied keyboard
parts alternate, parallels to CAMEL, YES, GENESIS and ELOY become apparent.
Nevertheless, SOD have created their very own special style.
"...a very interesting listen"
Having been around for a number of years, Shades Of Dawn, billed as
Düsseldorf´s only progressive rock band, released their first studio album
in 1998. The line-up for this album consists of Theo Labs (Bass, Guitar),
Hans-Jürgen Klein (Guitars, Lead Vocals), Cyrill Stoletzky (Keyboards,
Synthesizers, Pianoforte), Peter Schneider (Keyboards,Synthesizers, Vocals)
and Christopher Struwe (Drums, Vocals). Musically the band play a classical
style of progressive rock drawing their influences from numerous legendary
bands from the seventies, yet at the same time managing to infuse a personal
touch to make this album a very interesting listen.
Not only does the music act as a reflection of the band's influences, but
also the layout of the whole album which has eight tracks, all of which run
at over eight minutes in length, with topics that deal with daily life as
well as Greek mythology!
Going back to the music, the band as I mentioned have their roots deeply
embedded in the seventies. Take their opening track I Don't Understand with
its bombastic keyboard and guitar introduction. The music has its
neo-progressive overtones, yet in the midst of the track, among the guitar
and keyboard solos, the band also manage to find space to refer to Kansas'
Dust In The Wind. Comparatively one could drop another few names and one
that definitely comes to mind after hearing the way the way the keyboards
are structured is Pendragon.
One of the main drawbacks and problems that German bands tend to have is the
heavy accentuation when they sing in English. Thankfully, none of this
happens on with Shades Of Dawn though at times they do sound slightly
strained. Another feature of the band is their broad use of the keyboard
sound which percolates throughout the whole of there recording. Tracks like
Threads Of Reality move at a much more languid pace when compared to the
rest of the album relying on exchanges between guitar and keyboards to
create some form of variation.
On the other hand, tracks like these act as breathers for the rather more
energetic pieces such as Lost In Reverie which once again has that distinct
Camel touch, though the keyboard solo does remind me of Marillion circa
their Clutching At Straws period. Plenty Of Gold is another track that falls
into a similar category as Lost In Reverie though the track possesses a much
deeper melody and atmosphere.
The pinnacle of Shades Of Dawn's album is definitely Ulysses Rollercoaster
which in itself spans two tracks and is divided into five sections. The
initial section introduces another influence, namely that of Renaissance as
the introductory Toccata Con Fuoco features some delightful classical piano.
The remaining sections feature various influences and styles ranging from
Pink Floydian guitar work to the now customary Camel touch with the
occasional foray into Alan Parson Project territory. An excellent piece of
music. The album comes to a close with Sometimes and March For Love.
Sometimes, is in my opinion the weakest track on the album with the initial
section sounding slightly too stagnant, though amends are made with the
decisively upbeat and bluesy March For Love. Once again the emphasis is on
the atmosphere created by the organ-sounding keyboards that really create a
full sound with the rest of the band racing along at an impressive pace.
I must admit to have been impressed by this album and one of the facts that
made me realise that I was enjoying each and every track was the fact that
though each one runs at over eight minutes in length, one never notices
this. Definitely a sign that the music on this album is never boring.
Conclusion: 8 out of 10.
(Nigel Camilleri, Dutch Progressive Rock Pages)
"...an excellent studio debut effort..."
Shades of Dawn calls themselves "the only Progressive Rock band in
Dusseldorf", which I can't argue with. They have been around since 1993
(with a few line-up shifts), but The Dawn of Time is their debut CD. Their
sound is heavily symphonic, upbeat (almost "sunny" in an early Yes or
Starcastle sort of way, though without the vocal harmonies), and well
played. The music tends to have simpler song type structures in the vocal
sections, and get more intricate and serious in the instrumental parts, of
which there are many. Vocalist Hans-Jürgen Klein sings well in English and
doesn't really have much of a German accent. There are no standout flashy
instrumentals on this album (with the exception of "Toccata con fuoco", a
solo piano piece reminiscent of Keith Emerson's modern classical solo piano
works), this band is trying for more of an ensemble sound, and they clearly
want it to be easy on the ears. Perhaps a better comparison musically would
be countrymen Eloy or even early Camel, though perhaps a bit rougher around
The first few songs on the album are the most accessable ones, they are very
much "songs" with a verse-chorus structure, and sweetened with string
ensembles to the point that I sometimes think I'm listening to Gary Wright's
Dream Weaver. Not that that's a bad thing ... I love those lush string
ensemble washes. There are also sections where a more heavy organ sound is
the prevalent keyboard texture, so it's not all sweetness. Even on the lush
"stringy" cuts, there are good instrumental breaks to add interest and
variety. The thick keyboard textures are juxtaposed against biting guitar
and punchy drumming, the result sounding both lush and crunchy at the same
But the album really takes off with the instrumental "Ulysses Rollercoaster"
which features the previously-mentioned "Toccata con fuoco" piano solo as
its introduction. The remaining sections of this piece feature some
excellent Dave Gilmourish guitar work and thick string keyboard
orchestration, making it a bit reminiscent of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were
Here, though not as bluesy. This pair of cuts (#'s 4 and 5 on the CD) make
it worth the price of admission by themselves.
The remaining cuts continue in the alternating simplified vocal/complex
instrumental prog vein as the album's opening songs. Really, this reminds me
a bit of the way the old Yes typically did things ... complex music until it
gets to the vocal parts, then simplify to a more standard song structure for
the duration of the vocals. This keeps the music accessable while allowing
room for experimentation and complexity in the instrumental parts. It worked
for Yes, and it also works for Shades of Dawn.
In summary, this album is perhaps a bit more accessable than I might wish
for, but overall it's an excellent studio debut effort by this German
quintet (Hans-Jürgen Klein tells me this isn't really their first CD which
they recorded in '94, but has not been released to date). I have no qualms
about recommending it unless you just don't like anything but RIO or
avant-prog, which this CD is not.
(Fred Trafton, Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock)
"Don't miss this!!"
Well, all you regular visitors to this site will know that, given the
chance, I shout about the melodic side of progressive rock music, so I've
got my chance once again to bring you another truly major band and album. If
you have read my recent review of Triangle's "Square The Circle" then this
one is everything as grand, major and gut wrenching. The band state that
they are the only progressive rock band in Dusseldorf and I can believe it
as not many bands could compete with this kind of work. If I was forced to
name drop then what you have here is the directness of Jadis, the symphonics
of Pendragon and the keyboards of Camel. This album opens very dramatically
with spell binding strings, eventual screaming/wailing guitars and a direct,
big sound production, phew....breath taking. If you like Pendragon then this
should be for you. Exhilarating. Track 2, "Threads Of Reality", has a
slower, deeper symphonic sound with superb keys and develops into quite a
heavy number. This is wonderful, with melodic guitar and flowing keys that
exchange prominence. Brilliant. "Lost In Reverie" has interesting swings of
mood with good symphonic sounds, parts of which remind me of early Camel and
Pendragon and is a complex and a melodic gem. "Toccata Con Fuoco" is a
jazzy/classical piano kind of solo that links into "Ulysses Rollercoaster"
which has a good, full, symphonic sound with wailing guitars and flowing
keys, again they inter-change well. Like early Camel in places, grand,
complex and melodic prog. This is major stuff. "Plenty Of Gold" has a slow,
emotional opening and what a guitar solo. This is a deep, melodic track with
atmospheric key sections and before you know it this 12 min track is over
all too soon. This is major composing of the highest order. Track 7,
"Sometimes", has a good, deep and rich keyboard opening developing into a
grand, emotional song with great guitar work. Another track over 11 mins.
Magic! The final track, "March For Love", great prog rock here, complex busy
keys/synths and excellent guitars, it's got the lot. This is a major band
with a big sound and hopefully a big future ahead of them. Don't miss this!!
(Terry Tucker, European Progressive Rock Reviews UK)
"...excellent instrumental parts..."
The debut album from Dusseldorf's only Progressive Rock band, (or so the
press info tells me), and it follows in the tradition of German bands like
Grobschnitt, Anyone's Daughter, Ramses or British bands like Camel, Barclay
James Harvest or Genesis circa 1976. Shades of Dawn are a five piece outfit
who have been described by their label as "very musically involved
progressive art-rock featuring sophisticated songs, complex arrangements
spiced with elaborate guitars and keyboards"; as apt a way as any to sum up
the music on this album. There are some excellent instrumental parts on this
album, with the interplay between guitarist Hans-Jurgen Klein and keyboard
players Peter Schneider and Cyrill Stoletzky shining through in tracks like
"Lost in Reverie" and especially on "Ulysses Rollercoaster", a 10 minute
instrumental and one of the best tracks on the album.
(Progression Magazine, USA)
Translated reviews from German magazines (excerpts):
"one of the German pinnacles of the last months..."
An album full of rich keyboard sounds, in a way I haven't heard for a long
time. Eight songs lasting between 8 and 12 minutes don't let you get bored
anyway. Influences by such famous bands like YES or PINK FLOYD are obvious,
however their own style is evident as well. The vocals, partially
part-singing turned out very well. For fans of keyboard oriented progressive
rock: Get one of the German pinnacles of the last months. Strongly
Very bombastic. Orchestral tones pass over to me. An album of one founding,
hypnotic, bombastic, captivating..... Grab it!
Beautiful melodies, one after another ....Matured instrumental parts, as
well of both the guitar and two keyboards. Again and again the band leaves
listeners in a mood, which makes them only saying spontaniously something
like: "Hey man, that's really cool now...!" Risk an ear.
Extended piano and synthesizer passages always skillfully alter with
intelligent guitar activities.
Graffity's Rainbow Reviews:
SHADES OF DAWN ‘GRAFFITY’S RAINBOW’ (MUSEA RECORDS)
The German band SHADES OF DAWN is playing the typical Neo-Prog we have heard by
many other fellow German acts, such as EVERON, ELOY and SYLVAN. Instrumental it sounds very
impressive and also the included 4 lengthy epic tracks are quite a must-hear for fans of
mentioned bands, so basically SHADES OF DAWN is doing everything very well on their new
CD ‘Graffity’s rainbow’. Only vocally it’s not that strong, because we can clearly hear
the German accent and also some struggling here and there. Instrumentally speaking,
however SHADES OF DAWN proves to be a professional band to look out for,
especially if you’re a fan of earlier mentioned bands.
(Points: 8.0 out of 10)
In the last couple of years several German bands impressed me with their records
and they also reached high positions in my personal top-15 list of the year.
2011 marks the release of another excellent album made by a German band.
Graffity's Rainbow by Shades Of Dawn contains the same kind of neo-progressive rock music as the above-mentioned albums.
The band created a fabulous album which hardly contains weak spots. Graffity's Rainbow is the band's third album
after their debut The Dawn Of Time (1998) and From Dusk Till Dawn (2005).
As you can see the band takes quite some time to record a new album, but that's mainly due to problems on a personnel level.
Before and after the release of Graffity's Rainbow the band again suffered serious problems.
Drummer Chris Struwe got cancer, and he sadly died on June 6, 2011. In the meantime their excellent bass player Klaus Lohr left the band.
Listening to Graffity's Rainbow makes clear how good these musicians were. Of course they weren't the only ones who did an excellent job.
The other musicians responsible for this fine album are Hans-Jürgen Klein (guitars), Bernhard Marx (keyboards, saxophone) and Peter Schneider (keyboards, bass pedals).
They were actually the reason that I kept playing this record over and over again, their tasteful solos were a real treat to me.
All compositions are of a very high quality level and the musicians have a good feel for melody and drama.
Especially the title track shows the craftsmanship of the musicians. On this epic piece, inspired by the novel Graffity's Rainbow by
Thomas Pynchon, you can hear that they're able to write excellent compositions.
The keyboard intro is fantastic and throughout the remainder of the track the guitars and synthesizers are dominant.
If you listen carefully to this piece you might recognize some familiar classical parts like Franz Schubert's Unfinished Symphony
and The Great Gate Of Kiev by the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky.
Hopefully they'll get a drummer and a bass player having the same musical skills as the musicians on this CD
that is highly recommended to people who enjoy neo-progressive rock in the vein of Martigan, Jack Yello, Pallas, Pendragon and IQ.