Abysmal Dawn - Obsolescence
Death Metal
10 songs (48:00)
Release year: 2014
Abysmal Dawn, Relapse
Reviewed by Goat

Four albums and eleven years into their career, Los Angeles-based Abysmal Dawn have struggled in the past to overcome the averageness of their 'pick two random words' death metal band name, but Obsolescence suggests that something excellent lurks within, waiting to get out. Sounding about as typical as death metal gets on initial listens, pretty close to prime-era Bloodbath with a touch of Cannibal Corpse, it doesn't take long to hear that Abysmal Dawn have an ear for a well-crafted death metal hook, and some skilled songwriting elevates Obsolescence from living up to its name. It's really needed; although instrumentally the band are flawless and the production is decent, there's nothing about their sound that's particularly original or exciting...

Thankfully, the solid songwriting makes up for it to some extent; moments like Perfecting Slavery's swing into groovy chugging is well-judged and sure to set pits alight, while some incendiary soloing ticks all the right boxes. There are no surprises, but you get good, solid songs – enough to make the album listenable if not propelling it to the top of any best-of lists. Inanimate grooves along compellingly with subtle little tech-death guitar squalls, while Devouring the Essence of God sounds more complicated than it is thanks to some fancy drumming bells and whistles. There's a futuristic, dystopian feel from the cover artwork and tracks like One Percent Incomplete, aided by the groovy blasting, but the band don't make much of this, despite moments like Loathed in Life – Praised in Death where a few electronic touches could have made for a more original sound. I'm not one to wish for that sort of thing generally but I do find myself grasping for anything that would make Abysmal Dawn more than they are.

In some ways Obsolescence sums up 2014 in metal – we've had a lot of good, solid metal, but not as much that is truly outstanding as we could have hoped for. Although this album comes close to greatness here and there, it really needs a heavy dose of originality before Abysmal Dawn become a name worth praising. And despite the Dissection cover that closes the album, this is above-average grunt n'blast in the meantime, the sort of thing that might be expected from the new Bloodbath if they were playing it safe. Those disappointed with the supergroup's choice of vocalist for the oncoming Grand Morbid Funeral might well find solace here.

Killing Songs :
Inanimate, One Percent Incomplete, By My Demons
Goat quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Abysmal Dawn that we have reviewed:
Abysmal Dawn - Nightmare Frontier (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Abysmal Dawn - Phylogenesis reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 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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