Dawn of Ashes - Anathema
Industrial Metal, Metal I first heard Dawn of Ashes on an Out Of Line compilation back in the mid-00s. What I heard was a standard-issue form of aggrotech, terror EBM or whatever name the genre has these days (the miltant Wikipedia mods with their old-school ideals have prevented any one term gaining dominance). Anyway, I was heartily tired of said genre by then and duly forgot about them. Fast forward many years, and I read a promo e-mail that informs me that Dawn Of Ashes have 'gone metal'. Then this thing crops up for review, I get curious and here I am reviewing it.

Now, I've heard the aggrotech+guitars combination before. It should work, but it takes more talent than you may expect to allow the two styles to work together without one swamping the other, so what we usually end up with getting was a kind of Hocico with power chords, or Ministry with Access Virus supersaw leads. Dawn Of Ashes have decided to side-step this issue by deriving influence not from the industrial rocks school of processed riffology (though ironically they got Chris Vrenna, ex-NIN, to mix it), but instead the highly technical world of extreme metal.

Luckily, such things are not totally lost on me. OK, my own collection doesn't extend beyond Cradle Of Filth (sorry, did I just admit to something I shouldn't have?), but thanks to an ex from a few years back, I got a decent grounding on the most extreme fringes of the metal scene. And in case you're already feeling nervous, let me assure you they're exactly like us industrial fans. Two hundred odd turn up at a basement venue, crowd round the merch stall picking up rarities and then various elitist discussion commence between (and sometimes during) the live parts, and the aftershow party is a complete sausage-fest. Dawn Of Ashes are treading safer ground than you may think.

So what Dawn of Ashes has delivered here is a 12-track 'suite', with the three 'Anathema' interludes sitting at the start, middle and end of the album, and nine actual songs in between. The song structures generally avoid the dance-inspired stompathon of industrial dance, instead adopting very technical structures, which build, break and rebuild, attacking from many angles and never quite settling into a predictable pattern. They keep one foot in their industrial past by ensuring the guitar parts dominate only on occasion and rarely reach the playing speed of the traditional extreme metallers, whilst still using the arcing strings and choral parts typical of melodic black metal. As an equal parts hybrid of the two styles, they've nailed it.

Of course, one of the downsides of adopting such a technical approach is the lack of a real 'anthem' to seal the albums greatness. "Sex, Blood & Black Magic" gets closest, but what would normally be the songs middle eight becomes a one minute diversion into a descending synth line, disconnected from the rest of the song. Full marks for surprise value and tonal variation, but marks off for choking when a sure-fire anthem was in the making. Only on "Torture Device" and potentially "Insidious (Of The Judas Breed)" do they keep their experimental tendencies in check and offer up a straightforward industrial-melodic-black-death-extreme-metal composition that I could safely spin in a DJ set without judicious cueing.

Sometimes, the extended structures work in their favour, though. The penultimate track "Scars On Scars" brings in Gary Zon from Dismantled, and together they develop an awesomely drawn-out build up from nowhere to a cathedral-sized climax. Sometimes the hook simply isn't there, though - "Ending a Harrowing Wish" just sounds hurried and muddy for the duration, whilst "Morphine Addiction" is merely turgid. The individual songs are hit and miss, but their use of the 'suite' concept does result in a album that amounts to more than the sum of its parts, and whilst some parts don't really work out of context, there is enough content of quality to make these twelve tracks a worthwhile trip into the dual hells of aggrotech and extreme metal.
4
Brutal Resonance

Dawn of Ashes - Anathema

I first heard Dawn of Ashes on an Out Of Line compilation back in the mid-00s. What I heard was a standard-issue form of aggrotech, terror EBM or whatever name the genre has these days (the miltant Wikipedia mods with their old-school ideals have prevented any one term gaining dominance). Anyway, I was heartily tired of said genre by then and duly forgot about them. Fast forward many years, and I read a promo e-mail that informs me that Dawn Of Ashes have 'gone metal'. Then this thing crops up for review, I get curious and here I am reviewing it.

Now, I've heard the aggrotech+guitars combination before. It should work, but it takes more talent than you may expect to allow the two styles to work together without one swamping the other, so what we usually end up with getting was a kind of Hocico with power chords, or Ministry with Access Virus supersaw leads. Dawn Of Ashes have decided to side-step this issue by deriving influence not from the industrial rocks school of processed riffology (though ironically they got Chris Vrenna, ex-NIN, to mix it), but instead the highly technical world of extreme metal.

Luckily, such things are not totally lost on me. OK, my own collection doesn't extend beyond Cradle Of Filth (sorry, did I just admit to something I shouldn't have?), but thanks to an ex from a few years back, I got a decent grounding on the most extreme fringes of the metal scene. And in case you're already feeling nervous, let me assure you they're exactly like us industrial fans. Two hundred odd turn up at a basement venue, crowd round the merch stall picking up rarities and then various elitist discussion commence between (and sometimes during) the live parts, and the aftershow party is a complete sausage-fest. Dawn Of Ashes are treading safer ground than you may think.

So what Dawn of Ashes has delivered here is a 12-track 'suite', with the three 'Anathema' interludes sitting at the start, middle and end of the album, and nine actual songs in between. The song structures generally avoid the dance-inspired stompathon of industrial dance, instead adopting very technical structures, which build, break and rebuild, attacking from many angles and never quite settling into a predictable pattern. They keep one foot in their industrial past by ensuring the guitar parts dominate only on occasion and rarely reach the playing speed of the traditional extreme metallers, whilst still using the arcing strings and choral parts typical of melodic black metal. As an equal parts hybrid of the two styles, they've nailed it.

Of course, one of the downsides of adopting such a technical approach is the lack of a real 'anthem' to seal the albums greatness. "Sex, Blood & Black Magic" gets closest, but what would normally be the songs middle eight becomes a one minute diversion into a descending synth line, disconnected from the rest of the song. Full marks for surprise value and tonal variation, but marks off for choking when a sure-fire anthem was in the making. Only on "Torture Device" and potentially "Insidious (Of The Judas Breed)" do they keep their experimental tendencies in check and offer up a straightforward industrial-melodic-black-death-extreme-metal composition that I could safely spin in a DJ set without judicious cueing.

Sometimes, the extended structures work in their favour, though. The penultimate track "Scars On Scars" brings in Gary Zon from Dismantled, and together they develop an awesomely drawn-out build up from nowhere to a cathedral-sized climax. Sometimes the hook simply isn't there, though - "Ending a Harrowing Wish" just sounds hurried and muddy for the duration, whilst "Morphine Addiction" is merely turgid. The individual songs are hit and miss, but their use of the 'suite' concept does result in a album that amounts to more than the sum of its parts, and whilst some parts don't really work out of context, there is enough content of quality to make these twelve tracks a worthwhile trip into the dual hells of aggrotech and extreme metal. May 10 2013

Jonny Hall

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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