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Abysmal Dawn - Nightmare Frontier Award winner

Abysmal Dawn
Nightmare Frontier
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 19 February 2022, 5:05 AM

There are many historians that state that North American Death Metal School evolved from a mix between Thrash Metal, Hardcore and influences of MOTÖRHEAD. This explanation is not complete, because one feature is left aside on the discussion: the weighty influence of Hard Rock DNA of the North American Metal School. This is the main reason that Death Metal acts as DEATH, POSSESSED, DEICIDE, MORBID ANGEL, IMMOLATION and others have a deeper concern about their technique (in some ways, US Death Metal shows unconventional features on the arrangements and rhythms that can be found on Power Metal and even on Hard Rock). This is the main reason that explains why others Schools are not as technical as the US School. And the quartet ABYSMAL DAWN shows such thing on their new EP, “Nightmare Frontier”.

Their music follows the North American tendency in Death Metal: brutal, extreme, with many influences derived from Thrash Metal and Hardcore, guttural grunts in low tunes contrasting with nasty screams. But their music is adorned with a careful melodic sew that’s clear in many moments (hear carefully to “A Nightmare Slain” to check it), and a very good technical outfit. Yes, their musical work is really great, what can be expected from a veteran that’s about to complete 20 years of activity. The band recorded the songs at Tastemaker Audio Studio, with Charles Elliot (the band guitarist/vocalist and founding member) taking care of the production, mixing, mastering and sound engineering (the drums had some additional drum engineering done by John Haddad at Trench Studio). All to make the songs have the right balance between clarity, aggressiveness and weight (what’s not so easy to be done to their music). And the tunes chosen for the instruments are really perfect: simple and aggressive, but giving that idea of a sound that is ‘totally filled’ (without ‘holes’).

“A Nightmare Slain” is an aggressive and amazing song filled with many technical arrangements and a strong dose of Thrash/Death Metal influences (especially due the nasty and technical guitar riffs). And some nasty melodies can be heard on “Blacken the Sky” (especially during the solos), with a massive and heavy work from bass guitar and drums. On other hand, the band brings two personal versions for their fans: “Behind Space”, of IN FLAMES (from the first album, “Lunar Strain”, released on 1994, on their early age), clearly filled with a new brutal energy, but respecting the natural structure of the song (and with orchestral parts played by Craig Peters, of DESTROYING THE DEVOID and DEEDS OF FLESH). And “Bewitched”, and old classic of CANDLEMASS, with clean vocals (with some nasty screams) and a nasty and bitter ambience created by the guitars (tuned in a Doom Death Metal way, even during the solos). And such versions clarify the reason for such melodic sense guiding the band.

What’s left to say is that “Nightmare Frontier” is really a great release that bears one sin: only four songs aren’t enough. So let’s hope that on their next release (probably next year, when the band completes 20 years of existence), ABYSMAL DAWN can come destroying ears and imposing their work to the listening by force!

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. A Nightmare Slain
2. Blacken the Sky
3. Behind Space
4. Bewitched
Charles Elliott - Vocals, Guitars
Vito Petroni - Guitars
Eliseo Garcia - Bass, Additional Vocals
James Coppolino - Drums
Record Label: Season of Mist Records


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