While some might be quick to assume that only the Europeans are capable of producing decent modern metal music, digging into the underground a little reveals that there is a strong selection of extreme metal acts starting to make waves from North America, such as Decrepit Birth, Neuraxis and Abysmal Dawn, who coincidently have released their third record Leveling the Plane of Existence.
After the classical intro track “The Age of Ruin”, the opening track proper “Pixilated Ignorance” bursts through the starting gates with Scott Fuller’s battery of blast beats and frontman Charles Elliot’s guttural lows. The song’s defined structure is a breath of fresh air, as it avoids the somewhat impenetrable ‘collection of unrelated riffs’ style of song writing that plagues of a lot of groups of the same ilk. Rather than focusing on purely speed, the tempo on Leveling the Plane of Existence dips and dives with a multitude of different grooves and pace, such as “In Service of Time” and “Perpetual Dormancy”, while “My Own Savior” carries a beastly Behemoth vibe.
After being stripped back to a trio, founding guitarist and vocalist Elliot takes full control of the reins, with his incendiary playing and intense vocals really carrying the album to new heights, like on “Manufactured Humanity”, which is almost like a tech-death version of Arch Enemy, with the tune boasting catchy guitar riffs, interesting chord choices and a rampaging guitar solo. The massive closing number “The Sleeper Awakens” highlights the trio’s progressive edge, as eerily clean verses give way to lumbering walls of guitars and tortured growls, before closing with a cacophony of feedbacking instruments.
Another thing that cannot go unmentioned is the amazing cover artwork by Par Olofsson – the man is making a strong case for the best album cover artist in the metal world, with his previous work for groups like Annotations For An Autopsy, Malevolent Creation and Signal The Firing Squad just as breath-taking as his creation for Abysmal Dawn’s newest release.
Leveling the Plane of Existence may just be the gateway for those uninitiated with the technical death metal world and much like Necrophagist and The Faceless, Abysmal Dawn have successfully mastered the balance of both extreme technicality and memorably riffs and hooks. Leveling the Plane of Existence is certainly destined to be one of 2011’s strongest and most satisfying death metal releases.
The Age of Ruin
In Service of Time
Our Primitive Nature
Leveling the Plane of Existence
My Own Savior
The Sleeper Awakens