Review

Review

Dawn of Ashes: 'Farewell to the Flesh' – EP Review [NSFW]

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If you recall FEARnet's favorite Macabre Musical Memories from 2010, the extreme horror-metal band Dawn of Ashes scored high with their music video "Transformation Within Fictional Mutation" – a gory, Lovecraftian tentacle porn explosion featuring bizarro makeup effects by Robert Kurtzman's Creature Corps (check out the video here). Since the release of that clip and their album Genocide Chapters, I've been primed for more over-the-top offerings from this band, whose dark talons reach across multiple genres. They formed back in the early '00s as a "terror EBM" outfit before going straight-up metal, and this month their new digital EP Farewell to the Flesh has arrived to inject its dangerous sonic serum into our ear-holes, courtesy of three new tracks and a truckload of remixes that call back to their electronic origins. Read on for a review, as well as a nasty snuff teaser video...

Be warned, fans of the track "Carnal Consummation in the Empty Space" from Genocide Chapters ... you're going to be assaulted with no less than four industrialized remixes of that track in this package. While the more-is-more approach might be bordering on overkill, it does remind me how the band's core members acquired a sense of club-worthy beats from their "hellektro" era, and they have brought some unique artists onboard to play in their lethal sandbox. As promised to fans, the band also dug into their older catalog and selected (with the help of an online poll) one of two early tracks to bring in line with their new sound, but the remixes – though mostly well done – represent more of a look back than forward.

The rest of the material stays mainly on symphonic metal turf, but with more electro-industrial elements, plus a lo-fi mix that brings a taste of underground black metal. It's a chaotic fusion of old and new styles that sometimes bends the song structures to the breaking point, as if the band was trying to jam every kind of dark and aggressive genre into one box, but the mood is still nightmarish and the energy is consistently high – which is what drew me to these cats in the first place.

The title track kicks off the EP on a suitably epic note, trading off simple high-speed riffs with digital beat-slicing and synth patterns... which are a little too uniform and plastic-sounding next to the sweeping keyboards of Genocide Chapters. Next up is a buzzing new version of "Transformation Within Fictional Mutation," remixed by frontman Kristof Bathory (pictured above). Kristof's a uniquely demented artist, as if you can't tell (more tentacles, yo) and he ramps up the synthesized terror in this new mix, backing up his stated intent "to create music that is aggressive and vile sounding" regardless of genre. The quadruple-threat of "Carnal Consummation in the Empty Space" takes up the lion's share of the record, with remixes by atists from around the world; my favorites come from To Mega Therion (not to be confused with the song "To Mega Therion" by the metal band Therion, or the classic Celtic Frost album of the same name... wait, where was I?), another band with a reputation for bolting elements and themes of traditional black metal onto electro-industrial beats, and the intriguing German experimental electro band Die Sektor.

A cult favorite from the bands horror-electro days gets the symphonic metal treatment in "Torture Device Part 2," which returns to the 2008 single from their album The Crypt Injection. The transition is surprisingly smooth, demonstrating how DOA's violent intensity sits well in both genres, but the guitars lack punch and definition, which pulled me out of the mood too often. Not so for the chilling closer "Blood-Shed With the Third Eye," a brief free-form stew of sampled madness that feels like a liquid nightmare.

While this collection does have some strong material, it's kinda hard to figure out which musical dimension it calls home: horror-metal fans who never heard the band's electro material (nor would they likely want to) will be disappointed by the club-oriented vibe, while those who wish the band had stayed true to their EBM origins probably gave up when the guys grabbed guitars in the first place. Me, I'm open to everything – especially if it's evil – so I'm not as conflicted, but as a career move for the band I'm not sure where this one will lead.

Get a taste for yourself (no pun intended) in this totally NSFW teaser video, which contains a medley of tracks from the EP as well as footage of an unfortunate lady being force-fed her own intestines. Bon appetit!

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