Dawn Over Zero: Unity and Division Review
by, 12-10-2011 at 12:03 AM (2043 Views)
After nearly three years, a lineup change and restructuring, Austin, Texas modern rock band Dawn Over Zero has finally released their debut full length album Unity and Division for the world to hear. Through all the hard work and restructuring, the end product is very impressive.
Having a consistent theme from beginning to end on an album these days is something this street team leader has been seeing less and less of. Instead, albums consist of ten to twelve unrelated songs that are loosely unified by a theme so broad it is often times very hard to recognize how the songs specifically relate to one another and the overall theme.
Consisting of nine originals and one remake, the overall theme of Unity and Division addresses how we make choices to bind together (unify) or stray apart (divide) and the stress and struggles those choices entail. From the ten singles to the album cover, that theme is clearly presented in some form or fashion throughout the entire package making Unity and Division one of those rare instances. For this street team leader, the parts of the album that convey the overall theme the most is found among "Carry Me Home", the band's remake of "Shattered Dreams", "Sound of Goodbye", and the album cover. Below you will find a small discussion on each of these parts.
"Carry Me Home"
You have reached a point in your life where the world has turned on you. You are beaten, bruised, and quickly entering the point of no return. Doing everything in your power to find a way out, you finally call out for a helping hand. "Carry Me Home" addresses that call for help and tells of the struggles one goes through until you finally reach "the I need help" stage.
This song is further interpreted by a music video that spawned from an idea by producer Robin Blesch of Wolfpack Media. At the time, Blesch was filming a documentary about homeless people and came up with an idea to interlace the songs overall message with the documentary's topic. The music video features the band playing "Carry Me Home" in an alleyway (and later a club) that are interlaced with scenes of homeless people standing on the side of busy intersections with signs in their hands begging for that helping hand. In one scene, the bass player is shown on the side of a busy intersection holding a sign. Another scene involves one of the guitar players walking briskly down the sidewalk talking on his cell phone. As he walks down the sidewalk, a homeless person sitting next to a building extends his hand for a little help. The guitar player gives the homeless person a dirty look, brushes him off, and continues to walk briskly down the sidewalk while still talking on his cell phone. That same homeless person is later shown making a sign saying "We're Humans Too".
For this listener, "Carry Me Home" illustrates an a person's inner struggle between dependence (unity) and independence (division). Should you suck it up and deal with the world yourself or should you admit you need assistance and call out for that helping hand? If you do call for help, will the world see you as weak or will you be a stronger person because you finally admitted you cannot do everything on your own?
What does "Carry Me Home" illustrate to you? Have a look at the music video below while you think about this question.
Of all the songs Dawn Over Zero could have remade, they choose the Johnny Hates Jazz classic 80s tune "Shattered Dreams". Feeling compelled to give a very overlooked song the attention it deserves, DOZ placed their signature modern rock sound to the classic tune and made it their own. The heavy DOZ guitars and drums intertwined with the songs original "80's" sound effects and a bad ass guitar solo makes this remake sound original.
For a song about a man basically having nightmares and false illusions of a happy relationship only to find a deceitful woman broke his heart in reality, it is no wonder DOZ chose to remake "Shattered Dreams" as it highlights some of the struggles many of their originals talk about and goes well with the overall theme of the album. One struggle this remake helps highlight is found in the DOZ original "Sound of Goodbye" where a man begging his love to stay with him gets caught up in his own denial to the point to where he has false illusions that everything is just fine. With these illusions in place, he sees many of the signs that she is ready to leave but is too lost in her eyes to admit the reality of the situation.
"Sound of Goodbye"
From the push and pull of emotions in the overall sound to the desperate efforts described in the lyrics to prevent a loved one from walking away, the "Sound of Goodbye" is littered with imagery in reference to division. Beginning with the sound of footsteps fading to echos as someone walks away, this beautiful ballad showcases a man struggling to prevent the woman he loves from leaving him. After begging his love to come away with him, promising to turn things around, and even getting caught up in his own denial, his efforts end up falling on deaf ears as she is too consumed with the sound of goodbye. The result is the sound of heals fading to echos in the distance.
The Album Cover
What a better way to illustrate unity and division on an album cover then to have a close-up of a single dandelion with nearly half of its seeds missing and another seed completely detached and about to fly away in the breeze. In the midst of interpreting the album cover, this simple little dandelion is given a conscious with the ability to make decisions and feel the consequences of those decisions. Now that the dandelion is humanized, one can say that half the seeds have chosen to abandon the flower and fly away in the breeze while the other half struggles to keep things together in an effort to retain the shape of the original flower. While struggling with these decisions, the entire flower begins to decay.
Which parts of Unity and Division best convey the overall theme to you and why? While you mull this question over and think of a comment to write, do be sure to send the DOZ boys a friend request on Facebook, check out their official website, and more importantly, go buy Unity and Division on CDBaby.