February 1st, 2011
Release length: 38:49
Leveling the Plane of Existence is a solid Death Metal recording with plenty of heavy, often brutal sounding tracks. The production quality of the release is rough enough to enhance the heavier edge of the guitars that are deep and crushing, and the transitions throughout the songs are tight and well executed. While the introductory track “The Age of Ruin” is a nice piece that kind of braces you for the coming storm by acting like that storm’s eye, remaining calm and atmospheric, it doesn’t really do a good job bracing the listener for the well done faster-paced material that comes on “Pixilated Ignorance”, a track that has plenty of well executed changes that don’t go as crazy as some more technical acts, or former Deathcore bands like Job for a Cowboy, tend to do to the point of overkill, losing the listener. Instead, the song sounds like a proper Death Metal release with unrelenting crushing guitars and well suiting drumming, all complimented by a well ranged vocal approach of low gutterals that sometimes go into the pig squeal category naturally, but not a typical Brutal Death Metal approach, as well as a higher pitched shouting style that doesn’t go into the opposite end of the spectrum with Black Metal influence, retaining a still commanding feel to them.
“Pixilated Ignorance” really sets up the album perfectly. Much of the rest of Leveling the Plane of Existence is about the same as far as that track goes, being close to a mid-tempo, or a little faster speed. of course, “Perpetual Dormancy” does slow the music down quite a bit, leaving some moments where the music beings in some melody to some of the guitars in certain bridges, which helps to create a desolate, crushing atmosphere to the track at times, but not quite at the level of atmosphere one would desire. The song does pick up though, and gets a little more technical, leaving behind those melodic atmospheric sections in favor of solid Death Metal compositions that rely on the music simply being intense through the generic mid-tempo pace, but continues to build throughout the song, especially during the guitar solo when the song feels as though it’s building up, then stepping slightly back from an epic sound, only to progress further and continue pushing that feel, as if teasing the listener of something that will come, but, sadly, doesn’t quite reach it. The instrumental track before hand, “Our Primitive Nature”, is a nice little break to the hammering music, and is honestly a nice little instrumental, bleeding into “Perpetual Dormancy”, but again you can’t help but feel it doesn’t really contribute much to the song or recording in the long run.
One of the main redeeming factors for Leveling the Plane of Existence is the amount of energy the band can bring into the material. “Manufactured Humanity” is the perfect example of this, as the song is a fast paced furious assault of technical Death Metal that just seethes energy from the band, fueled by anger and intensity to make it one of the most important tracks on the release. “The sleeper Awakens”, however, is a completely different story. There isn’t as much energy coming off the song, but clearly shows a dedication to weaving some atmosphere, as the song is a slow-paced track that has an open-sounding simple guitar performance for the main verses, which sets up a cold, desolate feeling one would associate with an end-of-the-world setting that utilizes harsh vocals that come off more as a spoken word narration, and, between those sections, the music picks up from that slower, open sound to a heavier, richer traditional Death Metal approach that goes from gutteral vocals, to the aforementioned harsh spoken word approach throughout. It makes for a nice closing track, and isn’t bad at all, but definitely feels a little out-of-place in the grand scheme of the album, given the overall technical prowess the band shows on each track, and the overall intense and heavy music.
But, in the end, there is no denying that Leveling the Plane of Existence is the album that Abysmal Dawn had been trying to make over the years. What is easily the band’s best recording at this point in their career, the music feels a lot tighter and mature, and just has much more intensity and smooth transitions to keep the listener entertained well past that first time through the album. Granted, the instrumentals feel lacking, and the last track simply just feels out-of-place, but once those issues are overlooked, it becomes clear that this album was one the band really wanted to make, and took a lot of pride in recording, and it really shows. Listeners can instantly pick up on that during the opening moments of “Pixilated Ignorance”. Each track on here stands out nicely, and just has such phenomenal drive that any listener can’t help but be sucked into such a heavy and brutal sounding release that will make many who dismissed Abysmal Dawn sit back and applaud at the development the band has gone through for this effort.
01. The Age of Ruin – 1:40
02. Pixilated Ignorance – 3:50
03. In Service of Time – 4:48
04. Rapture Renowned – 4:27
05. Our Primitive Nature – 0:56
06. Perpetual Dormancy – 4:41
07. Leveling the Plane of Existence – 4:43
08. Manufactured Humanity – 2:58
09. My Own Savior – 4:18
10. The Sleeper Awakens – 6:37
|Overall Score: 9/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Relapse Records.