Friday, February 25, 2011

Abysmal Dawn - Leveling The Plane Of Existence

Abysmal Dawn
Leveling The Plane Of Existence
Relapse Records/Riot! Entertainment

On the strength of their first two full-length releases (Namely 2006’s ‘From Ashes’ and 2008’s ‘Programmed To Consume’), Los Angeles (California) based death metal outfit Abysmal Dawn have earned themselves a reputation as a force to be reckoned with within the U.S. extreme metal scene.
Now returning after a three year absence with a revamped line-up (Both vocalist/guitarist Charles Elliot and bassist/backing vocalist Mike Cosio still remain from the last line-up, with Skitzo drummer Scott Fuller joining the fold in 2009), Abysmal Dawn are back with their third effort ‘Leveling The Plane Of Existence’ to once again lay devastation upon the masses with their take on bludgeoning straight-forward death metal.
After a suitably haunting and building introduction to the album (The piano based instrumental ‘The Age Of Ruin’), Abysmal Dawn go straight for the throat with the pummelling ‘Pixilated Ignorance’. The technical edge of the band’s past work is still clearly evident throughout the song, but has been given a little more clarity with Erik Rutan’s exceptional mixing and mastering throughout. There’s also a touch more melody in the choruses than what we’ve come to expect from the band’s past work, while the guest solo from Krisiun’s Moyses Kolesne adds a really class edge to the track.
The mid-paced ‘In Service Of Time’ and ‘Perpetual Dormancy’ (Which is preceded by Fuller’s short percussion driven piece ‘Our Primitive Nature’) are a couple of tracks that stand out as something a little out of the ordinary for the band, with the songs primarily sticking to strong and heavy grooves for most of their duration, while tracks such as ‘Rapture Renowned’, the title track ‘Leveling The Plane Of Existence’ (Both of which boast a guest solo appearance from Heathen/Prototype/Psychosis guitarist Kragen Lum) and ‘Manufactured Humanity’ are very much typical of the Abysmal Dawn sound many will be familiar with.
Towards the tail end of the album, the band channels classic Morbid Angel on the impressive and riff heavy ‘My Own Savior’ (Which definitely stands out as one the album’s stronger tracks), before finishing things off in a decidedly experimental fashion with ‘The Sleeper Awakens’. While the closer doesn’t quite manage to fully capture the brooding/atmospheric tone the band were aiming for, it does at least show their willingness to try their hand at something a little outside their comfort zone (Especially on the vocal front).
Overall, ‘Leveling The Plane Of Existence’ is exactly the sort of album fans will expect from Abysmal Dawn, but with enough new sounds to keep things interesting. And while not all of the band’s steps into new territory work perfectly (The final track comes to mind here), they at least have tried to broaden their sound to keep things fresh. All up, if you’re a fan of Abysmal Dawn, there’s plenty on ‘Leveling The Plane Of Existence’ to keep expectations fulfilled.

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© Justin Donnelly