ABYSMAL DAWN’s Programmed to Consume fit the Relapse roster perfectly, as the album had too many riffs and drum beats that rivaled ORIGIN and other similarly casted bands. The debut albums from THE FORSAKEN and DISINCARNATE sounded like a heavy influence for ABYSMAL’s earlier material, but Leveling the Plane of Existence finally showcases their songwriting without being pigeonholed with the rest of Relapse’s roster.
After the obligatory intro, the album kicks into high gear with “Pixelated Ignorance,” one of the best tracks found on Leveling. The production is crisp, and new drummer Scott Fuller immediately blasts his way alongside the technical riffs. Frontman Charles Elliott belts out Mikael Akerfeldt-inspired growls, and towards the end of the track he does a solo trade off with guest shredder, Moyses Kolesne, of KRISIUN fame.
While slower songs are not the norm for ABYSMAL’s approach, “In Service of Time” slows the pace a little, and includes some tasty riffs before segueing into “Rapture Renowned,” which unfortunately, follows the predictable formula from Programmed to Consume. Songs like “Perpetual Dormancy” and “Manufactured Humanity” have a BLOODBATH feel, largely in part to the vocals.
Towards the latter part of Leveling, the songs take shape nicely, and the opening riff for “My Own Savior” could be mistaken as MORBID ANGEL at their prime. Excellent vocal patterns and catchy riffs and solos show that ABYSMAL DAWN have come together and matured as a unit, and Elliott is also unafraid to take risks. On the final track, “The Sleeper Awakens,” many may be surprised at not only the acoustic guitars that come into play, but Elliott’s vocals on this particular track. A few epic solos are showcased to close out the album and this track is a testament to moving onto new grounds instead of playing the same blast, growl, blast, solo formula.
ABYSMAL DAWN specializes in a healthy dose of brutal and technical death metal, and the band is headed in the right direction with the right balance of melody, speed, and guitar wizardry. Unlike ORIGIN, ABYSMAL DAWN has grasped the idea that you don’t have to play a thousand riffs at 100 mph in order to write a good album. (Relapse Records)