A re-release that’s short on the extras
With Los Angeles (California, U.S.) based death metal act Abysmal Dawn riding high on the overwhelming success of their third full-length release, Leveling the Plane of Existence, (which was released in 2011), it comes as no surprise to find their label Relapse Records trying to find a way to capitalise on the group’s current success. The only problem is that when it comes to reissuing older material, it has to be done in such a way that entices fans to fork out their hard earned cash; otherwise it’ll only come across as a blatant attempt at cashing in on the said band’s rise in popularity. Unfortunately, this re-release from Relapse Records seems to fall into the latter category.
Abysmal Dawn’s debut full-length effort, From Ashes, was originally released in April 2006 through Phoenix (Arizona, U.S.) based label Crash Music, Inc. to generally favourable reviews but, within eighteen months, Abysmal Dawn severed ties with the label, and soon after signed up with Relapse Records, and eventually emerged with their second full-length effort Programmed to Consume in 2008. Fast forwarding to the present and Relapse Records have decided to give Abysmal Dawn’s debut effort a re-release in expanded form. But while the prospect of an expanded version of Abysmal Dawn’s debut sounds enticing, there’s not a whole lot to get excited about here.
As an album, From Ashes is an O.K. release, but one that hardly redefines death metal as we know it, let alone kill in the same way that the band’s third effort did last year. No, From Ashes is a competent and likeable album from the band (who at the time of recording comprised of vocalist/guitarist Charles Elliot, guitarist Jamie Boulanger, session bassist Mike Bear and drummer Terry Barajas), if a little repetitive at times.
In terms of highlights, tracks such as In the Hands of Death, the melodic and groove based Blacken the Sky, State of Mind (which showcases the technical abilities in the band more than any other track on the album), and the bludgeoning closing track, Crown Desire, are the definite high moments on the album.
As mentioned earlier, this re-release of From Ashes from Relapse Records comes in expanded form. The only problem is that the three bonus tracks (Blacken the Sky, Solitude’s Demise and State of Mind) are merely the three tracks lifted from the band’s original demo from 2004 (back when the band were a trio). Although interesting, their inclusion hardly makes you want to suddenly trade in your original copy for this new version of the album. Given that there’s still plenty of room left on the disc, it would have been better if a few additional extras (live tracks perhaps) were added to make the whole package just a little more interesting and value for money for fans.
Overall, if you have the last couple of Abysmal Dawn releases, and have yet to purchase From Ashes, then this release may be worth checking out. If on the other hand you already own a copy of this album, then don’t go rushing out to trade up to this new version. The demos are only vaguely interesting, but their replay value is hardly worth the cost of the buying a new C.D.
(Relapse Records/Riot! Entertainment)