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Abysmal Dawn: Phylogenesis

It’s hard to believe that six years have passed since Abysmal Dawn released Obsolescence. It seems like yesterday I caught them on tour and watched, amazed, as they worked their way through the setlist. There are lots of very talented death metal acts out there, but these guys have enough chops for a dozen bands.

But what seems to me like only a short time has been an eternity for the band. Not only did they tour like crazy, but they faced several challenges including inner conflict, personal challenges, and lineup changes. At one point, Charles Elliott even wondered if it wouldn’t be easier to call things off. Fortunately, the band survived and finished their latest album. And it’s a good thing they did. Not only does this album represent a new beginning for the band, it also includes some of their best work yet. As an added bonus, there’s also a cover of Death’s “Flattening of Emotions.” Not everyone can cover Death effectively, but Abysmal Dawn makes it look easy. Even if you aren’t interested in Abysmal Dawn, you should check out this cover. It rules.

For those unfamiliar with Abysmal Dawn, the band formed back in 2003 and has released five albums so far. Although the band was originally formed by Charles Elliott (guitars / vocals), Jamie Boulanger (guitars) and Terry Barajas (drums), the band is currently comprised of Charles Elliott (guitars / vocals), Eliseo Garcia (bass, additional vocals), James Coppolino (drums), and Vito Petroni (guitars). The album was mixed by Charles Elliott, who has also opened his own studio, Tastemaker Audio.

As for Phylogenesis, the album is just as tight, brutal, and technical as fans have come to expect. And then there’s that added layer of melody that sets this band apart from others like them. I’m not talking about a breakdown into comfortable melodic, passages. Instead, I’m talking about the way these guys weave a melodic sensibility with the most extreme metal sounds in ways that don’t require calling special attention to it. Fans of extreme metal will be especially happy with the way Abysmal Dawn also pushes themselves musically on this album. That’s not a fancy way of saying they’re exploring new sonic possibilities or just getting soft. This band has always been heavy, but there’s another layer of heaviness brooding over the music here that I think fans will really enjoy.

Thematically, the album covers a variety of things ranging from the problems attending social media to environmental sustainability and what it means to truly live. With Abysmal Dawn it’s hard to say that one track shows off more musical proficiency than another. The band pushes themselves relentlessly from moment to moment and every song has moments that make you wonder where they get their energy. Although I’d happily recommend any track on this album, I did have a few favorites. I suggest first checking out “Mundane Existence,” a track that takes listeners into the trenches and never lets up. It makes for a killer opening track and it captures much of the rage, frustration, and doubt the band experienced over the last few years. Another killer track, “The Path of the Totalitarian,” focuses on the way social media shapes voices and opinions far more deeply than we might realize. If you’re still interested after those two tracks, check out “Soul-Sick Nation” and “The Lament Configuration.” Don’t forget to check out the cover art by Pär Olofsson!

Let’s hope Abysmal Dawn keeps going for a long time. The band not only sounds reborn here, but they also clearly show that there’s quite a bit more to do with a sound that never really gets old.

Track Listing:
1. Mundane Existence
2. The Path of the Totalitarian
3. Hedonistic
4. A Speck in the Fabric of Eternity
5. Coerced Evolution
6. True to the Blind
7. Soul-Sick Nation
8. The Lament Configuration
9. Flattening of Emotions (DEATH cover)

Added: June 20th 2020
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Bandcamp Page
Hits: 549
Language: english

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