DAWN OF ASHES — Genocide Chapters (review)

DAWN OF ASHES — Genocide Chapters album cover Album · 2010 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
J-Man
A Haunting, Evil Masterwork

If I had to think of one word that describes Dawn of Ashes as a whole, it would be "unique". Starting out as an Industrial/EBM act, the band released two full-length albums in this style before announcing their radical change in direction in September of 2008. They declared that they were moving away from the Industrial music scene in pursuit of a metal sound, particularly in the melodic black/death metal genres. Doing such a sudden 180-degree turnaround can be an issue for some bands, but Dawn of Ashes sounds like melodic/symphonic black metal veterans on Genocide Chapters. The band pulls off this new sound with ease, constantly amazing the listener as they embark on a dark and nightmarish journey. If this doesn't sound like something you'd be interested in, you're probably right. But if you ever have a craving for a dosage of evil, Genocide Chapters is one of the best places to turn.

The music on Genocide Chapters is symphonic melodic black metal with quite a few death metal and prog influences. I'm often reminded of Negura Bunget, and to a lesser extent, Emperor when I listen to Genocide Chapters. There is a lot of polish and symphonic keyboards on this album, so don't expect any raw old school black metal. The EBM-style of DoA's first two albums is gone entirely with this release.

Genocide Chapters is an 11-track, 43:27 album. For an album this evil-sounding and musically demanding, this is a pretty good length. It never gets repetitive or boring, while still maintaining a worthwhile playtime. It also doesn't hurt that Genocide Chapters is an extremely diverse album in terms of tempo, arrangements, and general moods. Of the eleven tracks, my personal favorites are Conjuration Of The Maskim's Black Blood, Transformation Within Fictional Mutation, Reanimation Of The Dark Ages, Carnal Consummation in the Empty Space, and Beginning Of The End (Epilogue). All of these tracks are extremely high quality symphonic melodic black/death metal compositions. The other songs are a bit unmemorable, but still of high quality nonetheless.

The musicianship on Genocide Chapters is top-notch. Dawn of Ashes plays as an extremely tight and professional unit, something I always enjoy, but rarely find, in black metal. The drumming from Orias is especially noteworthy. He can compete with the best when it comes to double-bass rhythms, but he also can tackle complex fills with ease. Valkar Kael's guitar skills are also worth mentioning. He has no shortage of great solos and riffs on Genocide Chapters, and his confident playing style enhances these things even more. Finally, the symphonic keyboards are worth noting. Handled by both Bahemoth and Kristof Bathory, they really add a lot of depth to the album. The vocals are pretty good, even though I'm not a huge fan of the black metal vocal style. The bass playing from Othuum isn't as eventful as the other musicians, but he gets the job done. It's not entirely his fault though, considering that the bass isn't given very much space in the compositions.

The production is great. It's clean and professional, but has more than enough atmosphere to portray all of the emotions in Dawn of Ashes' music. Old school traditional black metal purists may be turned off by the high level of polish in the production and overdubs, but it's a plus in my book.

Conclusion:

Genocide Chapters is a fantastic album by Dawn of Ashes, and I really hope the band continues to explore the melodic black metal genre in the future. They really hit the nail on the head with this release, and I have to applaud them for taking a big risk, and more importantly, succeeding tremendously. A 4 star rating is well deserved for Genocide Chapters. I'm sure that if Dawn of Ashes improves on a couple of things (making some of the songs more memorable, making more prevalent basslines) they can create a masterpiece in the future. As it stands, this is a highly recommendable release that should be very high on any black metal fan's 2010 wish list.

(Originally Posted on SeaofTranquility.org)
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