Tech Death Thursday: Dawn of Dementia
Last year was great for tech death in terms of both quality and quantity, and I’m still catching up on a bunch of it. Let’s listen to the newest from Dawn of Dementia!
News has been slow lately, but here’s a couple tidbits:
- Deivos dropped a new tune from Endemic Divine, their followup to 2015’s Theodicy. It’s a solid track and I’ll certainly be listening to the full album when it comes out, but I’m really hoping for more material along the same lines as Gospel of Maggots. Endemic Divine is out on February 10th.
- It sounds like we won’t be getting a new Spawn of Possession album anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hear anything new from them yet. Check out this short demo bit; it’s pretty sweet in spite of the Guitar Pro drums. Hopefully we’ll get something a little more concrete this year.
- Flub put out a short teaser last Thursday for “Wild Smoke,” a new song from their upcoming album. The synth part reminds me of something that would have appeared in Ocarina of Time, so you know I’m down for this. While we wait for more details, I highly recommend listening to the re-release of their Purpose EP.
I completely missed out on Immolation of Avernis when it came out last November, and have failed you all spectacularly in doing so. Dawn of Dementia’s first full-length outing was originally set to release on Halloween of 2015, but much of it ended up having to be re-recorded due to a hard drive failure that resulted in the loss of several songs. Now, over a year later, it’s finally out and available for our listening pleasure. Let me say right away that the wait was more than worth it.
Dawn of Dementia seem to have taken a fair amount of inspiration from Spawn of Possession’s Incurso, and they wear that influence on their sleeve. Immolation of Avernis covers much of the same ground, with blisteringly fast riffs that rarely let up and fully explore the breadth of their instruments. They show a similar grasp of counterpoint as well, each instrument rarely mirroring one of the others. That’s not to say they’re exactly the same; the band distinguishes themselves from SoP in large part through more lyrical segments, laying off the nasty diminished and Phrygian riffs for somewhat milder melodies (and oftentimes in the form of a slick tapping run). They also experiment with odd rhythms and meters a little more; the nearly 15-minute closing title track sees a lot of this, and doesn’t at all feel like its considerable length.
Unsurprisingly, the performances are nothing short of intimidating. The band plays host to a variety of drummers on Immolation, with Colin Foster, Evan Sammons, John King, and Hannes Grossmann each lending their considerable talents to the album. Guitarist Derick Harshbarger’s tap-heavy lead playing is rife with unexpected and creative ideas, but what caught my attention the most was Joel Schwallier’s bass playing. He easily keeps pace with the relentless guitars and drums, incorporating swept and tapped arpeggios into his riffing and occasionally taking solos himself. In spite of the perpetual business of the music, it never feels like any one musician is stepping in the way of the others, which is no mean feat at this level of speed and complexity.
My only issue with the album is with the production. Everything sounds a bit squashed, for lack of a better word; despite everything coming through clearly, the instruments don’t have a whole lot of breathing room. The tone lacks body as well, and it all sounds a little too thin. However, it could be much worse, and it doesn’t detract too much from the listening experience. It’s a flaw that’s very easy to look past given the strength of the music itself.
Immolation of Avernis is available digitally at the Bandcamp links above and should be seeing a physical release in the relatively near future. If you like what you heard, stop by Dawn of Dementia’s Facebook page and tell them how rad they are. That’s all for today; until next week,
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