Abysmal Dawn - Phylogenesis
Season Of Mist
Death Metal
9 songs (43:09)
Release year: 2020
Abysmal Dawn, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat

Back after a six-year break, Californian death squad Abysmal Dawn haven't always impressed with their technical brand but fifth full-length Phylogenesis is more than solid enough to encourage a reconsideration. Phylogenesis (the process by which a group of organisms evolve as opposed to an individual) continues the sci-fi dystopian themes of before, the Suffocation-esque artwork courtesy of Pär Olofsson setting the scene well for some horrifically dark death fun. And the time taken between releases (the longest in the band's career) has served them well, as the songwriting is particularly strong this time around. Heavier than they've been in a long time, opener Mundane Existence is anything but mundane as it blasts in, leaning close to brutal death metal with those jackhammering blasts from new drummer James Coppolino and intensely grooving riffs (close to (older) Decapitated, especially later on Coerced Evolution) from guitarists Charles Elliott and Vito Petroni, also capable of pleasantly widdly leads. It's a powerful, energetic opener to the album, with hooks present but not obnoxiously pushed and more than enough technical musicianship to charm refined death metaller ears.

And Abysmal Dawn keep this high standard across Phylogenesis. Tracks manage to stand out from each other on initial listens thanks to this careful deployment of hooks, the added melodicism of, say, The Path of the Totalitarian giving the song an extra grandiosity with a touch of almost Cattle Decapitation-esque deathgrind and varied grunts and growls - packing a great deal into those four minutes and eighteen seconds. Thanks to a more than decent production part-handled by Elliott the mix is terrific, giving Eliseo Garcia's bass more than enough aural space with enough muddiness to make everything seem crunchy and heavy. Everything just works, a touch of thrashiness to A Speck in the Fabric of Eternity speeding up into a black(ened) hole of technicality but including enough chug to make this a sure-fire live pit-destroyer. The mixture of technical drumplay and guitar groove on Soul-Sick Nation is oddly infectious, like a more intense Cannibal Corpse, and six-minute finale The Lament Configuration takes on a touch of Nile-esque grandeur to its brutal battering, showing that this style of death metal can work when drawn out a little, especially when packed as full of great riffing as this track is. And ending things with a bonus cover of Death's Flattening of Emotions is a great way to go out; it's hard to put your own spin on such classic material and Abysmal Dawn play it straight, yet it fits the album style and shows that the band's own material isn't that far behind. Let's hope Abysmal Dawn don't take another six years before returning, given that this is possibly their finest album yet.

Killing Songs :
Mundane Existence, The Path of the Totalitarian, The Lament Configuration
Goat quoted 80 / 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
Abysmal Dawn - From Ashes reviewed by Alex and quoted 85 / 100
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