Abysmal Dawn - From Ashes
Crash Music
Death Metal
9 songs (31'56")
Release year: 2006
Abysmal Dawn, Crash Music
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

These pages, both in many review bodies and forums, exuded the sentiment that 2006 has been a Year of Death Metal. I want to add my own voice to this statement. A lot of prominent acts, too many to list here, issued strong albums. It is then especially pleasant when a young unknown act joins forces and contributes to the strength. There must have been something in the planet’s air in 2006 that spurred death metal on. Count Abysmal Dawn as a new voice in this choir of fortitude.

I have never considered Southern Cal to be a metal bedrock, and that is where Abysmal Dawn is hailing from, but good vibes started to radiate from the very beginning of From Ashes. One thing was clear, even if their short instrumental intro Impending Doom is such a well written amalgam of dark multiple harmonies, then we were at least guaranteed attention to detail. Premonitions did not deceive me and From Ashes is indeed a well executed death metal effort focused on songcraft and execution. Perhaps none of the individual elements Abysmal Dawn brought to the fray are unique, but they have managed to come up with a stirring, pleasant to listen to mixture of death metal influences.

The album is chockfull of short, but varied throughout, tuneful songs. Starting with technical prowess and dark slant of American death metal of the early 90s, namely Suffocation and Immolation, Abysmal Dawn blended in some racing At The Gates riffs (In the Hands of Death, State of Mind) and nimble guitar leads reminiscent of Morbid Angel (Servants to Their Knees). Here is the band that does not do a speed-by-numbers thing, but knows when to blast along (Blacken the Sky, Salting the Earth), when to slow it down and crush the listener with a knee-breaking Kataklysm riff (Wicked Impulse) and when to jerk the tempo all the way around. There is plenty of brutality on From Ashes, but it isn’t mindless. The melody can come in waves (Blacken the Sky) or be simply a one tortuous lead among manly riffs (Solitude’s Demise) – there is just a perfect amount of it to keep the ear engaged without turning sissy. Terry Barajas’ drumming can pound away, but is expressive and accented in all of the right places with cymbal crashes.

Whatever elements there are outside of death metal in From Ashes, they are woven in tastefully. Charles Elliott’s vocals (he is also the bandleader, guitarist and lyricist for Abysmal Dawn) do a decent hollow growl impersonation of Frank Mullen, but at times, as if sensing the melody, he pitches his voice much higher, traversing into the blackened realms, similar to how Vile does it lately with Juan Urteaga (Solitude’s Demise). At times Abysmal Dawn songs have Behemoth atmosphere, but the band does not resort to any symphonics-electronics. Abysmal Dawn proves that they can thrash right off the bat with In the Hands of Death>, but they can also bring in some doom elements, combined with a mournful lead, in State of Mind.

From Ashes is a short record, but it is the perfect length nonetheless. You want to hear more of it when it ends, so you simply set the player on “repeat”. This album reminds me very much of my other personal sleeper favorite Embraced by the Absolute by a defunct Danish band Autumn Leaves. That crew, also inspired by Suffocation, combined technical competence and unreal melodic breakdowns. So, if you are among those waiting for the original masters, i.e. Suffocation, to release a strong eponymous effort (to add to the awesome list of 2006 Death Metal), Abysmal Dawn can certainly help you kill the time.

Killing Songs :
In the Hands of Death, Blacken the Sky, Solitude's Demise, but I found a lot to like in every track
Alex quoted 85 / 100
Dylan quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Abysmal Dawn that we have reviewed:
Abysmal Dawn - Obsolescence reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Abysmal Dawn - Programmed to Consume reviewed by Alex and quoted 74 / 100
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