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Very rarely can a death metal record be considered a work of art, but Abysmal Dawn’s 2008 platter of brutality is just that. The album is a vivid voyage through the depths of pure misanthropic hate and scornful disdain and contempt for human behavior, and it only lasts for a shade over 37 minutes. If it had been any longer, I think I might have sought a random pedestrian to bludgeon mercilessly after the first play-through.
The root of the emotion on this record lies solely in the lyrics, which is pretty strange for an American death metal album, especially one that was recorded in the last five years. Frontman Charles Elliot’s growls are as crystal clear as a death metal growl can be, and it is quite obvious from the beginning that he is only poetically pointing out the painfully pitiful shortcomings of the human race and its desire for consumption of ridiculous material merchandise that not a single soul on this planet needs.
What are we now but untimely fissures
In a system soon to be undone?
Do we work for what we’ve created,
Just byproducts of manmade gods?
I’m the end for you,
Your impending doom.
You must obey the limits.
You’re programmed to consume.
Uh, yes, please. That pretty much sums up my feelings as well. And that’s just the first track and it’s overly long and pointless introductory noise (Seriously guys, just start with the music).
As big of a part as the lyrics and their delivery play on the atmosphere and emotion of the record, it’s the instruments that truly make the music shine. The guitar tone is thicker than Oprah’s thighs after an all-nighter at the Denny’s buffet, and yet every single note of every single riff on the album is clearly discernible.
The songs themselves always remain groovy and catchy without featuring some sissy breakdown ode to Pantera or something. In fact, the only time these guys ever really slow it down is just as an effort to hit you that much harder and deeper, except on the acoustic instrumental track “Aeon Aomegas,” which is essentially the seventh inning stretch that gets you ready for the final pounding.
If the album has a weak spot, it lies in the repetitive song styling from track to track. Don’t get me wrong, Abysmal Dawn definitely know their formula, and they are undoubtedly hitting their stride on this album, but structurally each of the songs are seemingly built with the same general attitudes and sentiments as the one before. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is a reason for taking it out of the CD player after one play-through most of the time.
Make no mistake. This album is a relentless pummeling of pure death metal. It is American death metal straight out of California, but it definitely holds its own versus the more polished, brutal Dutch, Swedish, and Polish schools of death metal. If true American death metal is ever going to make a return, these guys will carry the flag into battle.
Written for globaldomination.se
And that's all this album is, really. It's alright, its okay, and it's very standard. Every riff on here, every groove, every drumbeat, and every growl...is standard and kind of nonexistent. Now, I was given this album by a friend to listen to, and I only had a little amount of interest when I recieved it in a trade. The first few listens ended with me dissatisfied, I didn't even care that I had used up forty minutes of the day; it just seemed like another album.
And that's where this album falls down on its face. As I've said about five times already, this album is standard technical death metal. Although the band can write a good riff (see: intro to 'Twilight's Fallen' or 'Grotesque Modern Art'), they seem content with pedal point riffs that don't do much for the song or for the album, either.
The guitars are tuned low (B, I think) to give it a bit of chunk because I don't think this album would sound heavy without the heavy detuning, and the guitars have this airy, modern sound that really gets on my nerves. I'm a huge fan of those old South American buzzsaw tones, and this is about as far away from those as possible. The riffs, as I said before, either consist of pedal points, technical idiocy, or the occasional really good death metal riff.
The bass is absolutely nonexistent. I've heard later-era Slayer albums with more bass presence. It's sad, really. The drums are competent for a modern technical death metal release. What I mean by that, is that you get your helpings of blast beats, huge double bass fills and patterns, and rolls from hell. Now this is fine and dandy, but this permeates the album with a feeling of "look at me guys".
The vocals are most definitely the highlight here. Really, Mr. Elliot is a phenomenal vocalist in all categories. His lows have a gurgle and power that remind of Mikael Akerfeldt, but a bit lower and a little less powerful, and his highs have this airy, but weak, quality to them. One issue I have with this album's vocals, is they all sound detuned in the studio, as if Charles can't go this low. He might be able to, but it just feels automated and processed.
And, here is another issue. The production; I am a firm believer in analog recording, and especially cheap analog recording, and production like this album is just irritatingly clean. It feels as if robots are playing this album, but not in a group, as if they all have their own rooms and everything is handled with a stupidly mechanical feel.
So, overall, the album is weak in the instrumental aspect, production aspects, and songwriting aspects, but strong in the vocal and lyrical categories. I don't recommend this for anyone, unless you really like modern tech death with a sheen so bright, you'll blind yourself.
Abysmal Dawns' latest release Programmed to Consume seems to take a step back to the beginning of death metal, with the intense thrashy riffs and blaring blast beats this album gets you pumped.
The album opens up with the title track "Programmed to Consume", using some static and a deranged voice panning left to right and back again to give this apocalyptic feeling right from the start. At the end of this strange message you get the hear the power of the drums, the guitars, and something else, Elliot's vocals. They are nothing short of amazing switching it up from the low growls to these powerful highs which have some clarity to the pronunciations.
There are a good amount of memorable tracks on this album i.e. Twilight's Fallen, Grotesque Modern Art, and this beautiful instrumental aeon Aomegas.
Twilight's Fallen starts off with a catchy rhythm to it. It gives the drummer a chance to do more than the standard blasts and double bass. The chorus also features some nice backing vocals from Jacob Enfinger of Reciprocal, giving a strong foundation for the song.
Now as I mentioned above aeon Aomegas is one of the most memorable tracks on Programmed to Consume. It lets Jamie Boulanger step into the spot light a bit, being that Elliot plays the majority of solos on the album. It shows that Abysmal Dawn does have some great writing talent. aeon Aomegas would have to be the most creative song on the album, given its not the most creative album,(but hey who cares it still sounds great), the acoustic guitar, and rolling thunder in the background gives this song a nice dark feeling to it that leaves the listener in a pleasant awe by the end.
So anyways Abysmal Dawns' Programmed to Consume does deserve a listen. I'm happy to have this in my collection, and hopefully they have more to come.
My first exposure to Abysmal Dawn was the band’s 2006 debut album From Ashes which is one of the most uninspiring and insipid albums I’ve heard and it was only after some constant praise from a friend on the forums that I bothered giving this album a try. I have to say that I’m pretty glad I did.
Abysmal Dawn’s Programmed to Consume is the band’s second full length out this year through Relapse. The band play a form of death metal that is derivative but at the same time is stuffed full of terrific grooves and the kind of hell for leather aggression that you expect from a death metal band. At the same time, there are enough touches of inspiration, changing of tempos, kickass soloing and slight flirtation with black metal to keep things always interesting.
The band’s sound is a nice who’s who of classic death metal with songs bearing touches of everything from Malevolent Creation to Morbid Angel and Suffocation while the lead playing reminds me of Decapitated. It is in fact the guitar playing of Charles Elliot and Ian Jekelis that sets this band apart from a large chunk of their peers. The songs are full of great riffs that go from jackhammer intensity to slowed down atmospheric guitar parts and every song on this album has at least one really big fat groove. The high quality lead playing is simply the icing on the cake. Elliot also turns in a very good performance as vocalist alternating between a solid death metal growl a raspy voice that is very effective.
Stand out tracks include album opener and title song Programmed to Consume, the mid paced groove monster Twilight’s Fallen, The Descent with its slight black metal feel mixed up with classic Morbid Angel and the superb album closer Walk the Path of Fire.
Overall, Programmed to Consume is a high quality death metal album. The band is not doing anything new within the genre but much like Thorium, they stick to writing memorable songs within a well established framework and manage to pull off a very enjoyable album. Also, with the level of improvement between the debut and this album the band might well pull off something truly special next time around. As it is, they’ve come pretty close this time.
Originally written for http://www.kvltsite.com
I rarely do this but I bought this record on a whim. Yes I was actually lured by the little header that Relapse put and after listening to it at the store decided it was worth my money. What I have garnered upon multiple listens is that this record does not stretch the boundaries of metal, but rather does a good job at not conforming to the standard modern day "uber tech kitchen sink with no balls" sound that many a "death metal" band are trying nowadays. Abysmal Dawn do it the old fashioned way; pummeling yet groovy riffs along with monster vocals and guitar solos. Is there anything wrong with that?
My favorite element of the band's sound is from the vocal aspect. Charles Elliot, the band's leader and main songwriter also has a devastating pair of pipes. His lows, which he uses most often are guttural, balsy and remind me of Mikael Aekerfeldt's delivery. His highs are not as awesome but nonetheless get the job done.
The guitar playing is tight and concise, with the odd good solo thrown in for good measure. Nothing insanely shredderific but that is not this band's calling. They throw in a good amount of melody as well as straight-up pummeling and old school death metal grooves.
Overall this is text book death metal. No gimmicks, no "core" to be found (thank Satan!). This band is a lot more metal than many modern day pretenders.
As for album highlights, the opener and title track "Programmed to Consume" has some great moments, "Grotesque Modern Art" rocks and "Aeon Aomegas" is an acoustic interlude which reminds me of some early Gorguts moments and the closer "Walk the Path of Fire" is pretty brutal.
As previously stated, there is nothing totally new about this band, rather they execute death metal pretty well. The band gets points for having done their homework. I hope this becomes more of a norm in the modern death metal scene.
Simply put, “Programmed to Consume” is by-the-books death metal with standard thrashy riffs and speedy tremolo picking. The effort is lacking life, passion, and none of the songs feature anything resembling a hook. The only two real glimpses of creative hope was the acoustic break in the middle of the album, and the lyrical concepts spewed forth by vocalist Charles Elliot, which deal with some almost progressive content about science fiction and social commentaries. Charles is in fact the bands strongest point, with his growls resembling the powerful Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth, accented by high screams.
As it stands, I personally don’t think all is lost. There are some subtle nasty melodies riding beneath the action. Perhaps Abysmal Dawn just needs another album to hit their stride, as I can almost feel a yearning for something different bubbling beneath the surface. If that day chooses to rear it’s ugly head, then that will be the day that Abysmal Dawn will truly be a force to be reckoned with.
Originally posted at www.waytooloud.com
Death metal itself is a genre that has had it's ups and downs. In recent years, a select few bands have taken to stretching the boundaries of the genre in one direction or the other. Old school bands are coming back, hardcore breakdowns have made their way in (and have been ridiculously overdone), and still others push the technical boundaries of what they do.
Abysmal Dawn was originally brought to my attention for having a former member of L.A.'s Rise, a band I had the pleasure of seeing at Milwaukee Metalfest one year thinking that they stood out quite a bit. This CD has a LOT of elements, but none of them being too original. That being said, this is a very solid outting by a very capable band. I get a very 1997 vibe off of the whole thing. There are riffs that could have come straight off of Cannibal Corpse's more technical material of the day (which isn't to say it's tech-death by any stretch). Some of the drum/guitar interplay reminds me a little bit of latter-day Gorguts as well, but nowhere near as out-there with the oddball noises and pick scrapes. The blast beats are very few and far between, the typical speed of this disc is either plodding and slow or Slayer-beat. The vocals are kinda squashed in the mix...no mic cupping since the vocalist also plays guitar...kinda reminiscent of what Muhammed sounds like in Necrophagist. One thing the packaging said that confused me was that amidst all the death metal bands that the band was compared to, "Testament" was in there in bold print and I couldn't even picture that, but now after hearing a few guitar solos, I see what they're talking about. The soloing definitely has a Skolnick kind of vibe with the excess reverb and the occasional sweep arpeggio. Very cool.
Originality isn't present here in the slightest. But if you're just looking for a kick-ass death metal disc, this is pretty damn good.