"Absence of Light"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Almost all of the Swedish death metal I'm exposed to is of the rabid chainsaw Stockholm variety. Kind of a nice change to get something based more on the Gothenburg melodic DM sound, which is where we find Italy's Dying Awkward Angel. These dudes make a pretty creditable stab at the style. I chalk up a lot of my indifference to it just on personal taste because there's a lot here that would interest fans of early In Flames and At The Gates.

Although I'd never heard of them prior to "Absence of Light", this is quite the veteran band and it shows in the tight playing on display here. DAA keep their tunes fairly short and punchy, which is usually advisable in this line of work. There is a feeling I get from this that it is just short of really breaking through, but they just can't get over the hump. "Blood of Your Blood" is a fair opener with some heft to it, but its second track "Death Coach" where the band really establishes their cred. This is fast, heavy and dark, with plenty of Gothenburg style melody. Not all of the tracks are fast; "Dolls" has some interesting ideas and "Sancta Santorum" plods along with an almost doomy feel. "Tusk" is another really heavy one that grabbed my interest.

But there's also some filler here, too, like "Dust Devil" and "Isaiah 53:7" which just sort of take up run time. Dying Awkward Angel is a band which is trying mightily to be At The Gates but falling short. Nothing to be ashamed of there....few indeed are the bands that can scale those heights.