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Album Reviews : Dawn of Ashes – Genocide Chapters

By on October 11, 2010

Extreme Horror Metal; that is what Dawn Of Ashes have described themselves as. After listening to the album, it’s a pretty accurate label. Apart from the aesthetic of the band themselves, (think Dawn of the Dead with guitars) the album does have a real creepy, surreal vibe. This is accomplished through very solid production that gives a full, sharp, chunky sound that I suspect comes from their industrial roots, pounding rhythm from the drums and guitar, flourishes of eerie keyboard parts, and a tasteful use of vocal effects. They describe themselves as starting off in industrial metal, and that they have developed their sound into something more akin to melodic blackened death. Considering this is their first full-length album, I don’t know how much time they’ve had to make such a creative shift, however they have been around since 2001 and listening to the music, it truly does sound like a band who have used industrial as a stepping stone towards something more complex and heavy.

The opening track “Conjuration of Maskim’s Black Bool” is not particularly melodic, focusing more on pounding rhythms and pure heaviness. Effective use of synths and vocal distortion makes for a powerful chorus in this song, and you can really here the chugging, industrial-style production. Overall, its a good opening song for the album and I found it had me absently stomping my feet even on the first listen.

The next 2 tracks, “Nyalarthotep’s Children of the Void” and “Seething the Flesh in the River of Phlegethon” are quite reminiscent of Cradle of Filth, but with ballsier production (I know I keep going on about the production, but I really like it). Throughout the album there is also a recognizable element of Dimmu Borgir – specifically from Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia and Death Cult Armageddon. These 2 songs are more melodic than the almost purely rhythmic. With a song name like “Seething Flesh in the River of Phlegethon”, it makes me wish I had the lyrics on hand. These songs also show less vocal distortion, and the still gut-wrenching screams of Kristof Bathory (stage name I assume) show that vocal distortion is a creative choice rather than a crutch.

“The Ancient Draining Room” ramps up the industrial aspect and is more similar to the opening track – with strong emphasis on rhythm and the return of vocal distortion. However, it fails to capture the same brutality as the opening track. “Reanimation of Dark Ages” is a 2-minute, slightly clumsy mood-setting piece that sounds like it doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. This segues into a very Cradle-ish riff that introduces us to “London’s Anthem for the Pleasure of Mutilation” (another great song title). And indeed the song remains very reminiscent of Cradle, though not excessively so, and if you (like me) enjoy Cradl of Filth, then you’ll probably like this song.

“Sacrilegious Reflection” is quite different to the previous track, with strong elements of melodic death. Pounding, if basic riffs, are complemented by slow, eerie keyboards and lead guitar. Throughout the song – especially in one of the fills – the song layers the lead and rhythm guitars, the bass, and the keyboards to create a really full, complex sound that does not compromise on brutality. This would be one of my favourites on the album.

“God-Like Demon” starts with a fairly uninteresting riff, but give it a chance as it transcends it with a fantastic verse and chorus. This track also displays some impressive drumming – my complements go to Dawn of Ashes studio drummer. The keyboards are quite prominent on this track – providing most of the melody except for the occasional tremolo picking, leaving the bass and guitars to focus on the pounding rhythms they maintain throughout the album.

“Carnal Consummation in the Empty Space” takes a more straightforward melodic death approach, but retains the keyboards that provide a great atmosphere for the song, particularly so in the chorus. The song is still quite progressive, with some great changes of volume and pace towards the end of the song.

The final song “Epliogue-Beginning of the End” is a bit of a disappointment. It sounds like the song is supposed to be a little more emotion and mature than the rest of the album. However, I just feel it doesn’t quite work. It does however show an effort for variety which I admire; plus it displays on the very few solos on the album, and it is a good solo, if a little short.

I find myself liking Dawn of Ashes because there is clear evidence of an evolving sound on this album. There is still much room for growth and improvement, which is a compliment as well as a criticism. I think there are a lot of great songs on this overall good album, but some more variety within the songs, more contrast, would be nice. Perhaps some more solos, or quieter segments, or some clean vocals – the vocals in particular can get a bit repetitive. With a bit more variety, I can see these guys making a great concept album – because the mood and the atmosphere in their songs is so powerful and really gives a sense of narrative. On the other hand, if they are just striving for brutal metal with a nice twist, then that is just as admirable and they do a good job on this album. In conclusion, I seriously recommend checking out Genocide Chapters – there’s something for industrial fans, death metal fans, and black metal fans.  7/10

Band: Dawn of Ashes
Album: Genocide Chapters
Year: 2010
Genre: Industrial/Black metal
Origin: USA
Label: Metal Blade/Riot
http://www.myspace.com/dawnofashes

Track Listing:
1. Conjuration of Maskim’s Black Blood
2. Nyarlarthotep’s Children of the Void
3. Seething the Flesh in the River of Phlegethon
4. Transformation Within Fictional Mutilation
5. The Ancient Draining Room
6. Reanimation of Dark Ages
7. London’s Anthem for the Pleasure of Mutilation
8. Sacrilegious Reflection – Reviewer’s Choice
9. God-Like Demon
10. Carnal Consummation in the Empty Space
11. Epilogue-Beginning of the End

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.