Hailing from Oakland, California, Abscess is a punk and hardcore influenced death metal act that is poised to unleash their next wave of "sickodelia." That is their word, not mine, and it seems to fit. The band, formed by former Death and Autopsy drummer Chris Reifert, has been turning out their style of raw death since 1995. This is my first experience with them and is likely to be my last.
The more I listen to Dawn of Inhumanity, the more bored with it I get. Yes it is raw, yes it is intimate, yes it is aggressive, but it does not really go anywhere. The album runs more than 52-minutes and spans 10 songs. Each time I listen, the longer it seems to be. It has been quite some time since I can say I was so utterly bored listening to music.
I am not a big fan of old school punk or hardcore and it feels as if this is where Abscess took most of their influences on their way to making death metal. It has the feel of a do it yourself project where your materials are all second-hand and not in the best shape to begin with. Still, you soldier on putting the pieces in all the right places despite the fact they don't fit. When you are done and you step back to survey your creation, you see what looks like what you wanted, but it is rickety and surely will not stand for long. Such is Dawn of Inhumanity. I hear what is a purportedly metal, but it is muddled, muffled, and poorly executed. It covers the bare minimum of what can be technically called music. There are rhythms, instruments are employed, and you can sort of move to it. Aside from that, it threatens to put me into a coma.
Listening to this album is an experience that reminds me of a similar one I had last week. It came when I was checking out the new album from Killing Time. I was reminded of why I was not a big fan of punk and hardcore. I was also reminded of why people are attracted to those styles. That is where the similarities end. Killing Time may not be a favorite of mine, but their album was much more successful at capturing that do it yourself feel and making the music feel somewhat involving. Abscess does not really invite me in for a visit, it seems to actively want to turn me off. Perhaps a little variety would have helped? I don't now, it just really fails to go much of anywhere. Death metal stuck in neutral.
Dawn of Inhumanity quickly becomes an exercise in tedium as one song bleeds into the next. At times I was not sure where one song ended and the next one began. It is all one distorted mess with growled vocals laid over the top. The one thing do like about them is the song titles, some would be pretty good if only the music were better. Among the best are "Darkside of a Broken Knife," "Never Sane Again," and "Black Winds of Oblivion."
Bottomline. This band has been around for a long time and they surely have their fans. If you are a fan, you will likely enjoy this. However, I cannot say the same for everyone else. This is just a slog that just robs you of your time that could be spent listening to a better band.