by Thor

Los Angeles, California’s Abysmal Dawn is back with “Obsolescence,” a new full-length album available now through Relapse Records.

Abysmal Dawn fits comfortably within the tech-death category, but they approach death metal more closely to the way in which the first technique-driven extreme metal bands did about twenty years ago.  With “Obsolescence” there’s an obvious focus on solid, relatively conventional song structures as opposed to a collection of musical navel-gazing that only professors of music theory and math experts can comprehend.

“Obsolescence” features ten songs most of which are pretty lengthy by death metal standards.  It’s a lyrically heady album, too, evoking images of humankind on the brink of breaking down and being usurped by something else.  The music is built upon a foundation of fast, aggressive blast beats and d-beats by way of drummer Scott Fuller, with accurate tremolo-picked riffs blazing over the top of them.  Founding member Charles Elliott’s vocal approach is intelligibly guttural with typical scream flourishes.  The overall effect yields incredible clarity and punch.

There are enough passages of groove and slow, creepy melodic bits evenly distributed throughout this beast to stave off the counter-intuitive monotony of overwhelming speed and aggression, not to mention the epic, soaring guitar solos you’ll freak out on along the way.  Most impressively, all of these disparate flavors are united by heaviness.  Using these types of tempo, tonal, and emotional dynamics is a lesson that several other tech-death bands could stand to learn.

The only negative regarding “Obsolescence” is also arguably one of its charms.  It’s everything you’ve heard before, but executed extremely well.  Whether or not that’s a positive or a negative doesn’t change the fact that Abysmal Dawn has composed a solid offering of straight forward death metal shredding.  For fans of early-Decapitation, Suffocation, and Nile, this one’s right up your dark, decrepit alley.