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Abscess - "Dawn of Inhumanity" (CD)

Abscess - "Dawn of Inhumanity" CD cover image

"Dawn of Inhumanity" track listing:

1. Goddess of Filth and Plague (4:14)
2. Torn from Tomorrow (4:16)
3. Never Sane Again (6:21)
4. Dawn of Inhumanity (5:32)
5. The Rotting Land (4:27)
6. Dead Haze (5:32)
7. What Have We Done to Ourselves? (5:21)
8. Dark Side of a Broken Knife (4:27)
9. Divine Architect of Disaster (5:27)
10. Black Winds of Oblivion (6:48)

Reviewed by on February 18, 2010

"Even though it has many non-traditional sounds, 'Dawn of Inhumanity' is still a raw and murky release that leaves the listener feeling like they just took a dive head first into a pool of putrid gore."

Although not nearly as well known as groups like Cannibal Corpse or Morbid Angel, Abscess has both the credentials and skill to put them on the radar for anyone who digs the U.S. death metal sound. The band also features members who have been involved with Death and Autopsy, which is a sure fire way to get serious death metal fans all hot and bothered. Although “Dawn of Inhumanity” has its base in brutal and gore-soaked metal, it doesn’t get completely pegged down into one genre, showing off strong punk and doom influences.

Much like the stellar cover artwork, “Dawn of Inhumanity” is gritty, repulsive, and refuses to stick to one particular theme. The art almost brings to mind an evil occult oriented black metal release, with its prominent floating cultists, but the weird eyeball creatures and disembodied hands bring back the death metal style in an iconic way.

The production on the album isn’t horrendous, but it is purposefully raw and thumbs its nose at the idea that a death metal album needs a high level of polish. Surprisingly, the music is far more experimental than would be expected for a release that seems to have so many old school death metal trappings. Unexpected acoustic guitar appearances, the sludgy stoner feel of songs like “Never Sane Again,” and the high energy punk feel in tracks like “Torn From Tomorrow” all lead to an incredibly creative and varied collection of songs held together by aggressive metal. In another interesting variation there are several segments where the bass is made the focus of the music, although they are all uniformly interludes that lose the hostility.

While some of the more unusual passages work exceedingly well, such as the psychedelic and proggy guitar work in “Dead Haze,” some also seriously miss the mark. “The Rotting Land” is the biggest culprit, spending an unnecessary length of time stuck in a feedback segment coupled with abrasive growls that quickly stops being brutal and instead just becomes irritating. In theory the idea of a song that makes people want to punch things seems like a truly metal experience, but in practice it isn’t actually fun to listen to.

In their latest album, Abscess has easily avoided unnecessary repetition, the Achilles heel of death metal, by combining the basics of unrelentingly heavy music with a long string of twists and turns. Even though it has many non-traditional sounds, “Dawn of Inhumanity” is still a raw and murky release that leaves the listener feeling like they just took a dive head first into a pool of putrid gore. Sifting through all the viscera and eyeballs to find the interesting offbeat forays is an experience that should be sufficiently bloody enough to please fans of straight death metal and fans of more progressive sounds.

Highs: Lots of interesting trips out of old school death metal and into doom, punk, and psychadelic rock.

Lows: A few serious missteps with the non-traditional sounds, and the production is a little overly murky in places.

Bottom line: Takes a base of raw death metal and combines a host of non-traditional influences to make for a very interesting listen.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)