By Dr. Abner Mality

ABYSMAL DAWN took a few years off, got themselves on a new label and have now delivered a cracker of an American death metal release. Time off really can work wonders. On “Phylogenesis”, they sound as sharp and brutal as they ever have.

They kind of hit the DM “sweet spot” here. That means they are definitely vicious and angry, but they don’t veer into areas of ultra-brutality (which all too often degenerates into boredom) or ultra-technicality (ditto). They have the technical prowess of mid-period DEATH and the roaring rage of CANNIBAL CORPSE. That’s apparent with the opening blast of “Mundane Existence” and “Path of the Totalitarian”, both of which feature anger and precision. The drumming of one James Coppolino is a real asset; this guy can slam the skins HARD. “Hedonistic” adds more of the progressive, even melodic touch without losing too much heaviness while “Coerced Evolution” has a super choppy, chugging tone that shows impressive guitar picking ability.

The album ends with a cover of DEATH’s “Flattening of Emotions”, which pays a debt. This is just a really solid album all the way through, in a particular niche of death metal that is not practiced as much these days. Any prior ABYSMAL DAWN fan will eat this up with a spoon and new listeners wanting to experience prime American death should hop on board.