Abysmal Dawn is an American death metal band. Characterized by their heavily Tampa Bay-influenced old-school-meets-new-school sound, the band has slowly but surely worked their way into being a small but growing name in American death metal.
Formed in Los Angeles, California in 2003 by Charles Elliott (guitars, vocals), Jamie Boulanger (guitars), and Terry Barajas (drums), the band started off as a mostly studio-bound project due to their lack of a bassist and quickly released a demo the following year. Surprisingly, the demo proved to be fairly successful, and the band started to land opening gigs with various national acts. Full-length recording began late the following year, and the band drafted their old Inhuman Visions bandmate Mike Bear to play bass on the album, though he chose not to stick around. These sessions resulted in From Ashes, which dropped in 2006 to positive reviews and led to multiple supporting slots with national acts, and acquiring Carlos Arriola as a full-time bassist certainly helped even more. Arriola did not last long, however, and was later replaced with Mike Cosio in 2007. Work began on a second full-length that same year; shortly after it was completed, the band inked a deal with Relapse Records and released Programmed to Consume as their major-label debut, leading to even more touring. Boulanger left that same year, however, and was quickly replaced by Ian Jekelis; in addition, Barajas left shortly after and was replaced by Ken Bedene for a short while as a live drummer until they could find a new full-timer, who they eventually found in 2010 in the form of Scott Fuller, which incidentally was the year that Jekelis left to focus on Abigail Williams. Undeterred, the band began work as a three-piece on a new album and eventually released Leveling the Plane of Existence in 2011. Cosio left shortly after, with Eliseo Garcia taking his place, while Andy Nelson was recruited as their new live guitarist and was eventually inducted as a full-time member. Tours with Origin and Cannibal Corpse followed, though the band settled down in late 2012 to write another full-length. That album, Obsolescence, will hit in October of 2014. After several more scattered tours, Scott Fuller and Andy Nelson left at some point between 2015 and 2016; James Coppolino and Allan Marcus were drafted as live fill-ins. Coppolino has since been made full-time, but it remains to be seen whether the same will be true for Marcus or not. As of September 2017, the band has signed to Season of Mist, and after several years of delay and false starts, Phylogenesis was announced for a spring 2020 release.
- Demo 2004
- From Ashes (2006)
- Programmed to Consume (2008)
- Leveling the Plane of Existence (2011)
- Obsolescence (2014)
- Phylogenesis (2020)
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- Apocalypse How: A common lyrical theme, with "The Inevitable Return to Darkness" being one of the more in-depth explorations of the subject.
- Ascended Extra: James Coppolino and Vito Petroni.
- Black Metal: Certainly influenced by it, and elements of it have been popping up since Leveling the Plane of Existence.
- Book-Ends: Programmed to Consume opens with a creepy spoken word piece (courtesy of Sacha Dunable from Intronaut) over a noise backdrop that leads into the title track; if you listen to the end of "Walk the Path of Fire" closely, you'll realize that the noise passage that ends the song leads back into the beginning of the album.
- Cover Version: "Night's Blood", "Flattening of Emotions", and "Bewitched".
- Death Metal: Generally leans towards a Tampa Bay-esque style, but gladly includes elements of other genres as needed.
- Darker and Edgier: Programmed to Consume was heavier and had a more eerie atmosphere than the rather melodic From Ashes.
- Epic Rocking: "The Sleeper Awakens" (6:37), "The Inevitable Return to Darkness" (6:11), and "The Lament Configuration" (6:18).
- Genre-Busting: A mild case, as they blend death metal with tech death, melodic death, black metal, and thrash in a way that is hardly oblique but also makes further classification very difficult. They're not straight death metal, but what they are is up for debate.
- Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: James Coppolino.
- Humans Are Bastards: Their main lyrical theme, albeit in a less overtly misanthropic fashion that focuses more on dehumanization and the general pointlessness of existence.
- I Am the Band: Charles Elliott.
- Lead Bassist: Eliseo Garcia is a Type B.
- Melodic Death Metal: From Ashes bordered on this, and they still dabble in it here and there.
- Metal Band Mascot: The black hole that shows up in their album art.
- Metal Scream: Charles is a Type 2 who can also pull off raspy Type 3 highs (and is famous for his lengthy held notes), while Eliseo Garcia is strictly a Type 2.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Hard 9, occasional soft 10 on From Ashes, soft 10 on Programmed, solid 10 on most of Leveling, with a dip into a soft 10/hard 9 on the more melodic tracks and an even further dip into an 8 for "The Sleeper Awakens". Obsolescence is mostly a solid 10 with a few dips into a hard 9 ("Laborem Morte Liberat Te" and the cover of "Night's Blood"), while Phylogenesis is a solid 10 all the way through.
- New Sound Album: Every single album has had a noticeable change in sound, which is apparently what Charles goes for:
- Programmed was significantly heavier and less melody-driven than From Ashes.
- Leveling was faster and even heavier than Programmed and had a noticeable Morbid Angel influence.
- Obsolescence features noticeably more complex arrangements and has a strong undercurrent of black metal that colors the atmosphere.
- Phylogenesis has noticeable Technical Death Metal and Progressive Metal elements, with the blackened death elements of Obsolescence almost completely excised and the usage of seven-string guitars on several tracks.
- Revolving Door Band: Has never had the same lineup from one album to the next.
- Pintsized Powerhouse: James Coppolino.
- Soprano and Gravel: Charles Elliott can go from a low roar to a high blackened rasp, and "Laborem Morte Liberat Te" features actual clean chants. He is also quite capable of traditional cleans, as demonstrated by their cover of "Bewitched"; as per Charles, James has encouraged him to use them more on future material, though he is still unsure as to how he would implement them.
- Special Guest: Moyses Kolesne (Krisiun) did a guest solo on "Pixilated Ignorance", while Kragen Lum (Heathen, Prototype) delivered solos on "Raptured Renowned" and the title track of Leveling. Obsolescence features guest spots from Christian Muenzner and Bobby Koelble, while Phylogenesis has a spot from Fredrik Folkare.
- Thrash Metal: Leveling has noticeable thrash elements that can probably be owed to Scott Fuller, who played in various thrash bands before joining Abysmal Dawn.