Anyone who has read my reviews knows that I have a strained relationship with Abysmal Dawn at best. At the best of times, I find the death metal quartet to be passable, but I quickly begin to lose interest in their brand of modern death metal. Their newest EP, Nightmare Frontier is their sixth release, following their record Phylogenesis, which I found to be enjoyably mediocre.
Nightmare Frontier is an EP that is arranged to decrease in intensity as the tracklist moves on. The opener, and by far the strongest track, is the Bloodborne-inspired “A Nightmare Slain”, which is Abysmal Dawn at its most enjoyable, it is techy, it is brutal, and is cohesive enough even at its riffier portions to maintain interest. With tasty solos to boot, the track is a complete package. Following this, “Blacken The Sky” is pummeling in its intro, with a groovy drumline, and is very reminiscent of At The Gates Swedish melodeath and creeps close to The Black Dahlia Murder, albeit with the traditional Abysmal Dawn vocal textures. “Behind Space” is a cheesy melodeath track, more like old Soilwork/In Flames, with a central riff, which while spunky the first time around, grates on frequent repetition through the track. J
Just when this EP was seemingly making me feel optimistic, album closer “Bewitched” caused a complete fall from grace. Probably intended to be a death-doom ballad with the classic doom vocals…. Oh wait, this is a Candlemass cover. Shame on me, for not picking it up sooner. As far as covers go, it does its job modernizing a genre classic. The track, however, is an abrupt change of pace from the vibe of the record.
Nightmare Frontier is an EP with diminishing returns, starting off strong, and ending on a confusing note (unless you like Candlemass).