DAWN OF ASHES
Three years on from the band's last – and for a time it was thought final – album 'Anathema, Californian industrial black metal outfit Dawn Of Ashes return with their heaviest assault to date. The break must have reinvigorated the fire in the band's collective guts as their latest outing, and second release for Metropolis Records, hits hard and fast with a blistering blend of aggrotech influenced industrial and necro black metal pushing the band to the extremities of their sound.
The aggression is front and centre to hammer home the band's now familiar blend of horror and occult themes. Searing symphonic and hellektro leads crash into maniacal guitars and thunderous drums while vocalist Kristoff Bathory hisses like a demon crawling from out of the abyss.
Tracks such as 'Tribe Of Chemosh', 'Still Born Defect (The New Breed)', 'Fire Of The Phoenix', 'Bleeding Perfection', and their cover of Nine Inch Nails' 'Last' personify the band's renewed intensity effectively and keep a strong core to the album that sees it hurtle past at break-neck speed.
While the likes of 'Rise Of The Ancient East', 'Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer Of The Witches)', and 'Valhalla' explore the more symphonic and soundscape orientated side of the band's songwriting to add more depth to the aggression.
The production is thick and heavy. The band have been ably steered by the experience of Mick Kenny (Anaal Nathrakh) who combines the band's catchy electro leanings with their all-out aggression with ease to find a balance that will appeal to long-time fans as well as those just coming to the band.
This is a great album that sees the band at their most ferocious in years. The harder metal core still holds dominance over the band's sound, however the electronics are balanced quite nicely so as still to keep their industrial legacy intact. Hopefully the band will maintain this energy into a follow-up sooner rather than later.