Los Angeles’ death metal masters ABYSMAL DAWN have scored the cover of Issue #52 of New Noise Magazine! Along with an in-depth interview with mainman Charles Elliott, the issue will also feature an exclusive flexi disc of the band’s never-before-heard cover of CANDLEMASS’ “Bewitched,” which will be made available digitally at a later date. The issue will hit the streets on April 15 and features artwork designs by Par Olofson.
Speaking about the upcoming issue and the choice to cover CANDLEMASS, Elliott comments:
“We’re incredibly honored to be on the over of New Noise Magazine. In all my years doing this, I think this is the first time we’ve been given the prime cover slot of any publication. I’m really happy to see all the excitement around the release of Phylogenesis and all the positive feedback we’ve been getting so far. It makes me proud after all the hard work that was put into this record.
“So, as an added bonus, New Noise is putting out our cover version of the doom metal classic, “Bewitched” by Candlemass. We had some free time in the studio while putting together Phylogenesis and decided to do something totally out of the box for us. I don’t think many of our fans would think Candlemass are an influence of ours but they are. It’s nowhere near the realm of tech-death or brutal death metal but Nightfall is one of my favorite albums and it’s an amazing record!
“Now the biggest shocker here is that I laid down some melodic vocals for this one. I don’t pretend to be Messiah Marcolin but I gave it my best. I tried to maintain my own voice while paying tribute to the overall vibe of the original. I wasn’t sure I could do it at first, but after showing the track to some friends and having the rest of the band excited about it, we decided we weren’t making total asses of ourselves. It’s a fun track and I think Vito killed it on the lead as well. Enjoy!”
Subscribe to New Noise or pre-order Issue #52 HERE.
ABYSMAL DAWN previously released “The Path of the Totalitarian,” the second single from their forthcoming fifth studio album, ‘Phylogenesis.’ The song is available along with an accompanying 360° visualizer
‘Phylogenesis’ is the first new music from ABYSMAL DAWN in six years! The record is out on April 17 via Season of Mist, making it the band’s debut to the label. Pre-order it HERE.
ABYSMAL DAWN will be hosting two exclusive listening parties in Los Angeles and NYC.
The Los Angeles party, which is co-hosted by MMA Fighter/Pro Wrestler Josh Barnett will take place on Thursday, April 16 at 10:00 P.M. at Cha Cha Lounge in the band’s hometown of Los Angeles, CA. There will be chances to win an ESP guitar and Season of Mist swag. Admission is free and the event is open to the public. You can RSVP HERE.
Meanwhile, the band will be making their way out East on April 10 for a listening party at Duff’s Brooklyn, which will take place at 10:00 P.M. This will be the ONLY time that the album will be available for purchase a week ahead of the April 17 release. RSVP and more details can be found HERE.
The artwork for ‘Phylogenesis,’ which was created by Par Olofson, can be found below along with the tracklist.
1. Mundane Existence
2. The Path of The Totalitarian
4. A Speck in The Fabric of Eternity
5. Coerced Evolution
6. True to The Blind
7. Soul-Sick Nation
8. The Lament Configuration
9. Flattening of Emotions (DEATH cover)
American death metal masters Abysmal Dawn are back! After a six-year gap, the Los Angeles-based outfit and Season of Mist hereby present Phylogenesis. Not that Abysmal Dawn have laid low since the release of 2014’s lauded Obsolescence full-length. Far from it. They toured North America four times and hit Europe and South America for the first time. Meanwhile, founding member Charles Elliott opened his studio, Tastemaker Audio, to accelerate Abysmal Dawn’s own recording needs, as well to act as a bridge to other bands in need of a knowledgeable and relatable audio technician. But the road to Phylogenesis wasn’t an easy one. Besides work-horsing it throughout the U.S., Canada, Sweden, Germany, the UK, Brazil, Chile, and beyond in support of Obsolescence, Elliott and crew managed through some of the lowest points in Abysmal Dawn’s career. Internal strife, administrative burdens, musical differences, and motivation all had their various ways with the Californians. Yet, from the darkest depths, they prevailed, heralding a new chapter in the group’s storied history. Indeed, Phylogenesis is Abysmal Dawn’s rebirth!
“There was a brief period after doing two months of touring back-to-back in the U.S. and Europe in 2015 that I almost felt like calling it quits,” Abysmal Dawn’s Charles Elliott says. “It was our first time in Europe and I just had a hard time enjoying it. The band had grown, and I was a bit tired of having to handle most of the managerial aspects of what we do. The joy had been ripped from things and people weren’t getting along, and some people acted like they didn’t want to be there. But we went our separate ways with some of the members and all of a sudden, the band was fun again. They went on to other things and we’re probably all happier in the end. Sometimes, I feel it’s a miracle this album or band even still exists. I’ve avoided swearing on our records in the past, but the album’s opening line is actually, ‘Fuck you all!’ Maybe it’s primitive by our past lyrical standards but it’s genuine and it’s the most heartfelt, ‘Fuck you, we’re still here’ I could put on a record. I’m glad we stuck it out because I think this is our proudest moment so far.”
To say Phylogenesis is an extension or continuation of Obsolescence isn’t exactly as straightforward as it should be. On one hand, all the Abysmal Dawn trademarks—technicality, brutality, and melody—remain ingrained in the songwriting fabric. On the other, the band’s fifth full-length is more cohesive, rhythmically sophisticated, and far more adventurous. Elliott calls it “a major evolution.” Certainly, the six years of constant refinement, edge smoothing, and transition adjustments have paid off. What started as jam sessions between Elliott, bassist Eliseo Garcia, and drummer James Coppolino in 2016 eventually turned into one-offs. That there was no time limit to put Phylogenesis together ended up both a blessing and a curse. Total creative freedom at very little expense is a dream scenario, something a band of Abysmal Dawn’s stature took advantage of for their magnum opus. But without a ticking clock and dollars burning, the pressure to focus was far less severe, resulting in delays and feature creep.
“It was basically James, Eliseo and me meeting up at my place, jamming on ideas, seeing what worked and tweaking them from there,” says Elliott. “With the exception of ‘Hedonistic,’ James wrote all his drum parts. Obsolescence was demoed with me programming all the drums since our drummer at the time had moved up north. It was what it was, but it was pretty frustrating at the time. Having someone to bounce ideas off of in real-time, helped in maintaining the joy and momentum of making this album. Once it was time to record bass and leads, Eliseo and Vito [Petroni; guitars] would trickle in when they had ideas. We had no real deadline and seemingly infinite time to do things. Admittedly, I think it was hard for me to focus on the lyrics, not only because of things in my personal life but because I was focused on getting the guys in to complete their parts so I could focus.”
Finish Phylogenesis they did, in fact. Under significant duress, Abysmal Dawn had overcome their roadblocks. The results of the group’s undulating professional and personal schedules aren’t to be trifled with, however. Opening track “Mundane Existence” is a firestorm of labyrinthine yet savage riffs, enraged vocals, and machine-gun drumming. It’s death metal personified, enlightened, and perfected. Elsewhere, tracks such as “The Path of the Totalitarian,” “A Speck in the Fabric of Eternity,” and “Soul-Sick Nation” (feat. Fredrik Folkare of Unleashed, Firespawn, et al.) pose real threats to the status quo. In all three, Elliott’s passion for and dominance of death metal’s tenets are tangible. But there’s more to Abysmal Dawn on Phylogenesis than customary ritual. From the ruthless groove of “Hedonistic” and the staccato stabs of “Coerced Evolution” to the late album gem “The Lament Configuration” and the blistering cover of Death classic “Flattening of Emotion,” the songs are designed to slay in ways we’re just beginning to understand.
“We’re a pretty brutal death metal band, but what I feel like sets us apart is that no matter what we do there’s always some underlying sense of melody and hooks,” Elliott says. “There are lots of bands that are ridiculously brutal. There are lots of bands that are over-the-top technically or are blatantly melodic. We combine all that but we try to write something that sticks with you over time; that you’ll keep coming back to, and that works well in the live environment. We love all types of music, whether it’s fusion or industrial music, and it shines through here and there. But in the end, though, we’re a pure death metal band at heart trying to retain that old-school feel with an updated take for a new generation.”
Conceptually, Phylogenesis deals with the breakdown of social constructs humans have built over time. The album title is defined by the evolution of (or diversification) a species. So, Phylogenesis is an ironic take on Elliott’s observations, particularly how social media has accelerated and exacerbated the de-evolution of humanity’s interactive abilities. The cover art, again by Swedish artist Pär Olofsson, isn’t directly correlated to the lyrical narrative, but it does continue where Obsolescence left off. The Olofsson cover art has envisioned what it’s like on the inside of the Obsolescence tower, and that it’s humans that are being fed back to humans. The cover art continuity is akin to Richard Fleischer’s famed Soylent Green film but ripped through Elliott’s demented death metal lens.
“I think the lyrics deal a lot with things we encounter in our modern society and the effect it has on the individual,” says Elliott. “The dehumanization effect and divisiveness caused by bickering on social media (‘The Path of the Totalitarian’), the decay of legitimate journalism (‘True to the Blind’), struggling to find purpose in the pursuit of happiness (‘Hedonistic’), wishing something was greater than yourself (‘Mundane Existence’), the mental illness epidemic (‘Soul-Sick Nation’), embracing pain over numbness to feel alive (‘The Lament Configuration’), having our consciousnesses uploaded to a grid in order to make life sustainable on Earth (‘Coerced Evolution’), and the common theme throughout the band of wishing life on Earth would just start over (‘A Speck in the Fabric of Eternity’). I had started off wanting it to be a concept record but later scrapped that idea because I didn’t like how it was going. In the end though, it just naturally all tied together in some way. Even the Death cover seemed to fit lyrically in hindsight. ‘Coerced Evolution’ is really the only song that in the sci-fi vein this time around. As for Pär, yes, he did the cover art once again. We love working with him and we’ve been creating great covers with him since 2006.”
Abysmal Dawn recorded Phylogenesis over a multi-year timeframe. In fact, Coppolino’s drums were tracked as far back as 2017 with long-time collaborator John Haddad at Trench Studios. The rhythm guitars and vocals, as produced by Mike Bear and Elliott, were also done at Tastemaker Audio the same year. So, some of Phylogenesis goes back, but the parts are no less lethal. Slowly but surely, the group’s newest and greatest materialized, with Elliott finishing the lead guitars, bass, additional vocals, re-amping, and mixing sessions in 2019, again at Tastemaker Audio. Abysmal Dawn then packaged up their fifth for mastering ace Tony Lindgren (Rotting Christ) to handle at Fascination Street Studios in Sweden. Contemporary yet absolutely remorseless, Abysmal Dawn’s Phylogenesis is death metal for a new age.
“We took our time and went to few studios this time around, so it’s a bit of a laundry list,” Elliott says. “John Haddad engineered the drums at Trench Studios. John has been involved with all our records in some form since From Ashes. Mike Bear helped track and produce the vast majority of my vocals and rhythm guitars out of my studio. Mike produced both Leveling the Plane of Existence (2010) and Obsolescence. I tracked and produced all the leads, bass parts, and other odds and ends and mixed the album as well. Tony Lindgren at Fascination Street Studios mastered the record in the end.”
As for Abysmal Dawn’s next steps, the quartet await the release of Phylogenesis. With past support coming from the Village Voice, Decibel, PopMatters, and Pandora, as well as the group’s rabidly-devoted fanbase, the future of death metal is in good hands.
Charles Elliott: guitars, vocals
Eliseo Garcia: bass, additional vocals
James Coppolino: drums
Vito Petroni: guitars