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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.