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Dawn of Ashes - "Genocide Chapters" (CD)

Dawn of Ashes - "Genocide Chapters" CD cover image

"Genocide Chapters" track listing:

1. Conjuration of the Maskim's Black Blood (3:07)
2. Nyarlathotep's Children of the Void (3:20)
3. Seething the Flesh in the River of Phlegethon (4:06)
4. Transformation within Fictional Mutation (4:25)
5. The Ancient Draining Room (4:01)
6. Reanimation of the Dark Ages (1:53)
7. London's Anthem for the Pleasure of Mutilation (3:52)
8. Sacrilegious Reflection (3:54)
9. God-Like-Demon (4:56)
10. Carnal Consummation in the Empty Space (4:57)
11. Epilogue-Beginning of the End (4:54)

Reviewed by on November 20, 2010

"Dawn of Ashes has gone beyond standard blackened melodic death metal, combining it with horror - both sonically and lyrically - to create something unique and gripping."

Dawn of Ashes began it's career, according to Wikipedia, “in the genres of Harsh EBM/Aggrotech.” Again according to Wikipedia, Aggrotech is “an evolution of electro-industrial and dark electro with a strong influence from hardcore techno.” Sweet. Harsh EBM is a shortened version of Harsh Electronic Body Movement, which is “a music genre that combines elements of industrial music and electronic dance music.” So besides an education, this information tells us that the members of Dawn of Ashes were pretty hardcore gents, just not in our preferred musical genre. Well, the four merry meddlers rectified the situation with a post on their MySpace page in May of 2009, stating “With this new line up and sound, the next installment from Dawn of Ashes will summon new sights and sounds among the world with a 'black/melodic death metal' sound." And to prove it we have “Genocide Chapters.”

On the first couple spins “Genocide Chapters” is well executed, if seemingly rote, blackened melodic death metal. The band has the most success in the slower moments, like most of “Seething the Flesh in the River of Phlegethon” – that one chugs along like a 50 foot tall mummy singing his favorite tune in the shower. Despite this initial impression of quality competence, “Genocide Chapters” horrifyingly grows as it is played, much like the horrors Dawn of Ashes employ as inspiration – the proverbial shadow creeping across the land. There are two main reasons for this: the production and the arrangements.

Producer Fred Archambault has outdone himself by creating a beast that is horribly real and terrifying in its clean muck. We feel every muddy rut we spill into running from murderers, we see every shaded streetlight about to go out, and we touch every slowly advancing nightmare. In particular, Othuum’s bass is taken to a stroke-inducing rumble when it crushes like the sound of an entire empire toppling down underneath the other players’ ghouls and zombies that run wild on the streets.

The arrangements must come from Dawn of Ashes’ past as a techno-type band. The real gems on “Genocide Chapters” are when fistfuls of chugging riffs are paired with keyboards and studio effects to create a horror soundscape, instead of a just song. While these splendid bits are splattered throughout the album, the triptych of “The Ancient Draining Room,” “Reanimation of the Dark Ages,” and “London's Anthem for the Pleasure of Mutilation” bring this idea to life in a complete suite of terror. Eerie leads from Kael combine with Kristof Bathory’s desperate vocals and Bahemoth’s haunting keys in the first, eventually dripping into the quieter, yet menacing, interlude of “Reanimation of the Dark Ages.” But we know our lives are not long to last, and the dream is brutally shattered at the beginning of “London's Anthem for the Pleasure of Mutilation,” with a nightmarish painting of sonic doom.

Dawn of Ashes has gone beyond standard blackened melodic death metal, combining it with horror - both sonically and lyrically - to create something unique and gripping. But this isn’t horror like a horror movie with popcorn on a summer evening. Instead, try this: imagine you are running down cobblestone streets at midnight, chased by Jack the Ripper. As you run, a werewolf approaches his prey down an alley. A couple blocks later a vampire kills his next meal in plain sight and the sweet blood blitzes down his chin. Maybe if he doesn’t look up you might live. You hear hope on “Epilogue-Beginning of the End!” But as the music fades and the shadows draw closer, you know it’s just a matter of time before you feel Jack’s blade pierce your skin…..Yeah, it’s about like that.

Highs: “The Ancient Draining Room,” “Reanimation of the Dark Ages,” and “London's Anthem for the Pleasure of Mutilation” create an amazing suite of heavy riffs and horror soundscapes.

Lows: The faster parts don’t carry the menace or power of the slower chugs.

Bottom line: Blackened melodic death metal is combined with horror by former techno band - and it works!

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)