Abysmal Dawn are, as if you couldn’t tell from the album cover above, a Death Metal band from Florida, USA. Death Metal is a genre that’s particularly notorious for being generic and samey. It can be more about brutality and technical ability than song structure and certainly big, catchy hooks are very much thin on the ground.
Therefore it takes a lot for a band to stand out and be recognisable in such a field. And while Abysmal Dawn are no Behemoth, they do manage to carve out their own identity to some extent. Vocalist/Guitarist Charles (now there’s a very \m/ name) Elliott fluctuates between the usual demonic grunts and some occasional Black Metal shrieks and screams. It adds some different textures to their sound that’s welcome. Both he and the band are all talented musicians and, yes there’s plenty of soloing on their albums, they don’t showboat too much.
Obsolescence is their fourth album and shows some progression from their last album Leveling The Planes Of Existence. The first two songs, Human Obsolescence and Perfecting Slavery are both aggressive, competent Death Metal but it’s not until the third song that things begin to shine. Inanimate is a little slower than the previous two songs and is centred around a huge, chugging riff that sounds like Slayer. Charles' vocals are far more guttural and inhuman than Tom Araya’s though obviously. It’s a monster.
Devouring The Essence Of God and One Percent Incomplete are more standard issue fare but both have some interesting riffs in there. Speaking of which, Loathed In Life – Praised In Death is another song with touches of Slayer in the riffing that wobbles my head like nobody’s business. There’s also some cultish chanting that’s creepy and weird. In a good way I mean.
By My Demons starts with some slow, picked guitars and windmilling. Some additional lead guitar makes it sound almost like it’s gonna be a Hard Rock song though any such illusions are such dispelled when the song proper kicks in. It’s a very energetic song that, shockingly, features some call and response vocals that are pretty engaging.
Laborem Morte Liberat Te (Which Google Translate informs me means ‘Labors Frees You’) is another great track that has some more chants though these are more Gregorian. There are some nice solos in this song too.
The next song is longest so far at 6 1/2 minutes long. The Inevitable Return To Darkness has yet more exemplary riffs and solos but is otherwise not that far removed from the previous track. After about four minutes though, it slows down, calms down and some twin leads accompany us to the end of the song. It offers some respite and would have been a fitting end to Obsolescence were this the final track. As it is though, it isn’t.
The final song is a brutal cover of Night’s Blood by Swedish Black/Death Metal band Dissection. It’s a mighty song with several pounding riffs and a brief acoustic passage slap bang in the middle of it. It twists and turns all over the place. It’s an impressive piece of work and makes me want to track down the original and investigate further.
Obsolescence is a solid and competent Death Metal album and has enough quirks and variety about it to make it engaging and interesting but not so that it gets in the way of the aggression and power. It’s Abysmal Dawn’s best album to date and I look forward to the next showing even more progression.
7 out of 10 – This is good and well worth a check
Best Track – By My Demons
Listen to Obsolescence on Spotify HERE
Buy from Amazon HERE