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Review: Abysmal Dawn - From Ashes
Abysmal Dawn
From Ashes

Label: Relapse Records
Year released: 2006
Duration: 32:43
Tracks: 9
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: February 8, 2009
Reviewed by: Mike Henn
Readers Rating
From Ashes

Rated 3/5 (60%) (2 Votes)

Admittedly, I am a sucker for generic Brutal Death Metal. Abysmal Dawn is one of those bands that do absolutely nothing different, yet plays the style so competently that there isn't much to complain about. Of course, there are the Human Filleted type of bands (the kind that rip off Suffocation to the point of tedium), but I find that bands like this one can usually play with enough ferocity and intensity to make me overlook the obvious similarities.

Most of these songs follow the same basic idea and contain the same basic ingredients, but the band bakes such a damn fine cake that I really wouldn't ask for much else. Every song contains a Suffocation-style groove at some point, the low vocals are reminiscent of Mads Haarløv while the higher ones remind me somewhat of a higher David Vincent, and the drumming is a nice Pete Sandoval-type mixture of relentless blast beats and tasteful fills. If there is anything that helps set Abysmal Dawn apart from the hordes of similar bands, it's that there is a slight modern tinge in the riffage. It's kind of hard to explain, but there is a certain latent groove underneath the typical Death Metal riffs that reflect the current time somewhat. Listen to the opening of "In the Hands of Death" or the middle section of "State of Mind". This actually doesn't hinder the music that much, and they can usually pull it off rather well, but the similarity to them and some of the riffs on Black Dahlia Murder's first album are rather striking.

The biggest problem here though, is repetition. There is no denying that they know what they are doing, and are certainly a competent group of musicians, but I'm just not so sure about their writing abilities. None of these songs suck, but "Salting the Earth" uses a riff damn near identical to the first one of "In the Hands of Death". The similarity to Black Dahlia Murder hits home once again here, when you realize that a majority of these riffs are just reworked versions of the first few. This could be a sticking point for some, but for me it's just a minor point of contention. I would usually say that hopefully the band could improve on the next record, but Abysmal Dawn's newest album, Programmed to Consume fell victim to the trend of becoming more and more technical, thus sacrificing songwriting in the process. So From Ashes may well end up being the band's finest hour, and it's an acceptable, if derivative, slice of Death Metal.

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