Abysmal Dawn

Imagine for a moment Abysmal Dawn were your average, every day, 9-5 productive cog in society. It’s not too far from the truth. After all, they do make death metal for a living (although, let’s face it, they probably need other jobs, too). They get up, go to work every day, do a great job, then punch out like everyone else. They’re always on time (if you consider taking 6 years between albums “on time”). They don’t complain, except for the occasional under the breath “fuck this bullshit.” The point is you can count on them. You pay them for the metal of death and you’re going to get it.

The last time these death dealers punched their time clock, they were on Relapse Records, releasing Obsolescence. This time they’re on Season of Mist for their latest offering, Phylogenesis. I enjoy releases from both labels, so not a step up or down in my eyes. I’ve been a fan for some time, enjoying the Pär Olofsson artwork adorning their releases as well as the music contained within. Leveling The Plane of Existence is my benchmark for them. It’s difficult to believe that album has been out since 2011. Needless to say, I have been looking forward to this.

The first words heard on the album are a hearty “fuck you all,” which Charles Elliott bellows not too far into the opening track “Mundane Existence.” It’s an impressive scream, too. There’s not much of an intro, which is honestly the way to my heart. There is spoken word to start the track, but the death metal starts immediately after that. Abysmal Dawn are back!

Fast forward a little bit to track 4, which is called “A Speck in the Fabric of Eternity.” Man, this track is bad ass. It has a great lead and groove, but what really sets it apart are the two hooks. I hesitate to call either one a chorus, but the song title is one of them. Elliott’s grasp of how to pronounce it and make it work is masterful. The second hook is difficult to argue. Yes, humanity is inept.

I’m also a big fan of track 5, “Coerced Evolution.” It’s groovy, has a good chorus, and some solid lead work. The verses themselves are almost rapped… Before you run to the hills and run for your life, you’ve heard this before in death metal. I’m sure there are other examples, but it reminds me very much of Corpsegrinder’s vocal patterns. This is certainly not new to Abysmal Dawn, either. It can also be found in smaller doses on other tracks, including the following one, “True to the Blind.”

The final track is a Death cover. Specifically, “Flattening of Emotions.” I thought they covered Death on Obsolescence, but I was mistaken. They covered Dissection as the final track on their previous record. It fits in well and if you didn’t know it was a cover, then, well, you wouldn’t know… Other than some of the, for lack of a better term, “jazzier” parts, which would be out of character for them, this sounds like an Abysmal Dawn track.

Here’s where I go back to my initial analogy concerning Phylogenesis. It’s death metal done well. In some instances, done very well. It’s heavy, technical, melodic in all the right places, and it’s well deserving of your time. The only issue holding it back is that this is Abysmal Dawn, and death metal badassery is to be expected. For this one, Abysmal Dawn clocked in, did their job of bludgeoning you for 50 minutes, impressed you for some of the time, clocked out, and tipped their hard hat when they left. All in a day’s work, ma’am.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
June 2nd, 2020


  1. Commented by: GWW

    These guys are like Misery Index, Hour of Penance, Allegaeon, Revocation…bands that never fail to deliver a great new album, Death Metal i can always rely on, brutal, accomplished, groovy…

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