Dawn of Ashes: Farewell to the Flesh

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Dawn of Ashes: Farewell to the Flesh
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Dawn of Ashes: Farewell to the Flesh
Black Metal, Industrial
Metal Blade Records
February 14th, 2012
Release length: 35:58
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As of late, Dawn of Ashes has been pumping out new material with a Melodic Black Metal foundation. However, this hasn’t entirely removed their Industrial and Electronic roots and influences from their works, as their latest EP, Farewell to the Flesh, shows their fans it’s alive and thriving. This little collection features three brand new songs, as well as a slew of remixes, primarily of the same track. Is the typical shorter release woes on a much larger time budget, or does the new material and/or remixed offerings really make it a release worth owning?

Much of the audio seems to hold the same kind of production quality to it, though the remixes can find slightly less crisp or digitally altered material that can be louder or duller. For the most part, especially on the new songs, there is a bit of a stylish digital presence, but none of the fresh tracks really feel as sleak as you would hope they do given the previous influences coming back into play. The guitars have a slight buzz to them that is reminiscent of the Black Metal style, but end up incredibly weak. The bass guitar also suffers that gimp feeling, but it’s present enough to keep the recording grounded and not too high pitched most of the time. The main detail is put on the Industrial and Electronic elements, which come through a little louder than both instruments, and much more clear. The drumming also finds a better sound at work, really having a strong click to the bass kicks and a tight, deeper sound to the snares that often do carry some digital alterations. The same can be said for the cymbals, as some sound normal, and others can be less natural. The vocals are a harsher rhasp approach common to the style, but also find effects the can lower the volume or intensity, as well as have them cut in and out quickly for a little while.

With the music itself really being far from impressive, Farewell to the Flesh doesn’t start things off in too positive a light. New offering “Farewell to the Flesh” kicks things off, and it blends together what is clearly meant to be a modern digital clarity amid some alterations to the music, especially the guitar chords that come off more like something out of a phonograph or early record player with a hand crank. It’s an interesting mixture that works out, and does manage to set up an empirical overlord atmospheric vibe, but more in the days of World War I or II. The breakdown towards the end winds up being the heaviest aspet of the song, allowing the bass to come through a little more, and the keyboard styled choir vocals are a nice additional touch throughout. However, without much bite, the slower to mid-pace material does have moments that will make your head bang along, but most just ends up uninspiring and really drug out towards it’s just shy of six and a half minutes lifespan. “Torture Device Part 2” feels a lot more ominous. The slower pace feels very restrictive, focusing more on the keyboards and Industrial elements, and the vocals carry a nice echo that gives the additional enthusiasm a little extra kick. But, when the pace picks up, the bass is nearly lost and the pitch becomes far too high, clashing horribly with the rest to the point where the passages just feel absolutely pointless despite the flow and transitions utilized. “Blood-Shed With the 3rd Eye” is the final of the three premieres, and it’s just a minute long instrumental of voices, haunting and digital, that works out well as a closing track, but in no way feels like it fits the atmosphere of the recording as a whole, let alone feels natural with it’s placement. It easily would have been a better introduction track, hitting right before “Farewell to the Flesh” and perhaps bleeding into it to better set the tone and have the listener braced for what’s to come.

With the new material not too impressive, it only leaves the five remixes, and many of these stick out for entirely different reasons. “Transformation Within Fictional Mutation (K. Bathory Mix)” actually does the original justice, and aside some additional Industrial elements, the slower pace really helps to give it a crushing tone with a highly commanding authority to a beat that is easy to obey your neck muscle’s instincts with. This captures that sleek production quality that is greatly lacking on the new song in an effortless manner. “Carnal Consummation in the Empty Space (To Mega Therion Mix) also does that just as easily. The slower pace and stronger focus on the drums and the choir vocals really sets this one apart, and the additional record static here and there helps to make it rather sleek, but in a truly dismal and ominous manner. Really, the only two that don’t work out are “Carnal Consummation in the Empty Space (Die Sektor Mix)” and “Seething the Flesh in the River ov Phlegethon (The Juggernaut Mix)” thanks to the Industrialized elements. The latter of the two actually comes off more like something you would expect to see on MTV or a twisted Nickelodeon music video break with an upbeat teen boy-band dancing along to some of it, or even just an introduction theme to some show of theirs like Kenan & Kel or Drake & Josh.

While Farewell to the Flesh offers up three new Dawn of Ashes tracks, there’s really nothing too impressive. Yes these, and some of the remixed songs, will have your head banging along, the latter sometimes more obediantly than the others, but there’s just too many faults. The production doesn’t capture the bass enough in the new songs to really retain an intimidating and commanding atmosphere the band so clearly desired, and two of the remixes just don’t work out, leaving one to just be laugh out loud upbeat and even child-oriented in some ways. It’s hard to say this EP is one that should be skipped over, as fans will easly find enough to come back to from time to time and revisit it, though not as often as you would hope. If you’re not a fan of Dawn of Ashes, this is far from the best place to jump in and introduce yourself to them. It’s not a cheap tactic to make money off new listeners or their devoted fan base, but this is far from an accurate representation of what the group is today, their past, or even what they can bring to the table musically.

01. Farewell to the Flesh – 6:28
02. Transformation Within Fictional Mutation (K. Bathory Mix) – 6:11
03. Carnal Consummation in the Empty Space (Falling Skies Mix) – 4:33
04. Carnal Consummation in the Empty Space (Die Sektor Mix) – 5:22
05. Carnal Consummation in the Empty Space (To Mega Therion Mix) – 4:28
06. Seething the Flesh in the River ov Phlegethon (The Juggernaut Mix) – 3:44
07. Torture Device Part 2 – 4:10
08. Blood-Shed with the 3rd Eye – 1:02
Overall Score: 5.5/10
Dawn of Ashes (Band)
Dawn of Ashes (Logo)
Digital review copy of this release provided by Metal Blade Records.