A reissue of their 2006 debut album Los Angeles death metalers, Abysmal Dawn with From Ashes shows as on its original unleashing they were and are still ahead of the game in bringing urgent essential senses grinding sounds. The songs on the remastered long out of print release show with total ease why the band at the time had claims of being the ones to watch and why the album since has been called one of the top death metal debuts of the past decade. The album now released via Relapse Records is as fresh as if it was made in the past few months, settling naturally amongst current death metal releases and putting many to shame.
Formed in 2003 Abysmal Dawn first drew attention with their 3 track demo in 2004, its sounds drawing in good press and responses with underground metal media and helping the band to share stages with the likes of Exodus, 3 Inches of Blood, Hate Eternal, Into Eternity, and Aborted. The following year the band began work on their debut From Ashes, its success and impressive aggressive sounds leading the band to a first U.S. tour alongside Six Feet Under and Decapitated as well as more shows with bands such as Suffocation, Emperor, Immortal, and Goatwhore. 2007 saw the band working on their follow-up release Programmed To Consume as well as many festival appearances, and the next year after signing to Relapse, the album was released to similar acclaim as their debut. Last year saw the band’s third album Leveling The Plane Of Existence again garners strong interest and responses keeping the band at the head of the genre where From Ashes put them, even if awareness of the band has still to fully find its peak.
The founding trio of Charles Elliott (guitars/vocals), Jamie Boulanger (guitars), and Terry Barajas (drums) certainly set a benchmark with From Ashes when it was first released and even now though it does not stand with an over abundance of originality it blisters the ears with an energy and vibrant force and creative skill that subsequent bands and releases have failed to match. As mentioned even set against modern albums and there have been a great deal of inspiring and impressive ones, From Ashes generates a satisfaction and attention that sets it apart. The album is brutal, never releasing its grip on the senses as it drives hard and deep with forceful intensity but to this the band add some creative melodic insertions and solos that at times mesmerise. The technical prowess of the band shines whether in these melodic moments or in the gut punching wall of aggression they dish up.
The tracks after an initial warning in the instrumental opening track ‘Impending Doom’ are unrelenting in their intense race to violate. All strike impressively and leave a welcome mark but the likes of the caustically grinding ‘In The Hands Of Death’, the simple slightly obvious but nevertheless addictive ‘Blacken The Sky’, and ‘Wicked Impulse’ which twists and torments the senses with some taunting and teasing grooves and colourful guitar play, leave the biggest smile across the heart.
Some people have stated that the release is too similar across its length for them, and that is fair to say to some extent but when the core sound is so addictive and plays with the emotions like a wanton siren it is not the biggest issue in the grand pleasure it brings. When you are swept away by the sheer joy and immense beating the album’s best track ‘Salting The Earth’ gives with riffs that permeate and manipulate like a demented dark malicious puppeteer it is hard to find any true negatives.
The guitars of Elliott and Boulanger create sharp melodic patterns that wrap around the ear they simultaneously abuse and their artistry is impressive. The same goes for the riffs of bassist Mike Bear (Ex-Prototype, Artisan and since replaced by Mike Cosio) on the album, they are wonderfully grouchy as they fill each track with menace. With three additional demos from 2004 added, From Ashes is a definite buy for any who do not have a copy of the original or are yet to have a taste of Abysmal Dawn; it is a treat for any metal fan.