Dying Awkward Angel – Absence of Light Review

Band: Dying Awkward Angel
Album: Absence of Light
Label: Rockshots Records
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Country: Italy
Release Date: May 25, 2018

When it comes to lots of death metal, there are just so many bands trying to emulate those classics that they’ve always looked up to and been influenced by,and  so many come off as trite, and uninspired. But Dying Awkward Angel have taken their influences, and tastefully blended them with a more modern style of heaviness.

Dying Awkward Angel is originally from Turin, Italy, and formed two decades ago, in 1998. It took until 2013 for them to release their first full length album, but it was immediately apparent that DAA took after their northern neighbours from the Gothenburg scene, which hit it’s stride only a few years before DAA formed.

Jumping into the album, there are 11 tracks, most being 4 minutes or under, with the intro and outro tracks being closer to 6. Almost every track is a train of groovy riffs and and full speed metal. The intro track is called ‘Blood of your Blood’ which is a fine intro to the rest of the album. The drums immediately rush into a blast beat, accompanied by some nice aggressive guitar riffing, followed by a progression with melodies over it, immediately indicating the influence of classics like In Flames, and Dark Tranquility.

Delving further into the album things only seem to get better, and it becomes apparent that this album will be a must for any melodeath fans out there. As we hit the 3rd track; Isaiah 53:7, the album really comes into its own, and it’s past this point we find almost all the tracks that really stick out to me as points of interest. The first of these tracks is ‘Sancta Santorum’, This is definitely one of the strong points on the album for the vocals, and some great melodies are to be found all throughout the tune.

The next two of stand outs are the last two songs on the album, ’T.U.S.K.’ and ‘The Killing Floor’. Both songs take an especially dark turn to finish the album, with some of the most crushing riffs, and some great drums fills and patterns to compliment the aggressive wall of guitars. While things take a heavier tone for these two songs, the melodic elements aren’t relenting, the end of T.U.S.K. has one of the most memorable melodies in the album, and ‘The Killing Floor’ throws a haunting female vocal lead in to the fray to mix things up in the grand finale.

From a production stand point, I really enjoyed this album, old school Gothenburg death metal compositions were competently met with a modern, cohesive production style. The elements that I really enjoyed were foremost the guitars, I loved the tone they had, it was thick, and coherent, reminiscent of the guitar tones I’ve heard in newer Rotting Christ albums, not too distorted, and not fizzy, both things that plague the guitar tones in a staggering number of OSDM albums. The vocals stood out to me in that they didn’t sound harsh, but rather, the only way I can describe them is like a warm, heavy growl, that blended in nearly perfectly with the music. The drums had all the right amounts of punch to them, and every tom fill was as awesome as a tom fill should be, and the kick is clicking away all throughout. My only complaint is that, as per usual in a metal album, the bass tends to disappear in the mix and pop its head out only at certain points.

To sum everything up, Dying Awkward Angel should be proud of themselves, this is a must hear for any fans of In Flames, At the Gates, or Dark Tranquility. It’s an album that stays true to its roots, yet brings in all the needed modern elements to make it not sound like another band on a nostalgia-trip, something I find refreshing. My strongest complaint could be that there isn’t anything that truly distinguishes them from other good melodeath bands, no truly unique elements. But Dying Awkward Angel has delivered a competent album, and it can’t be denied that they are very good at what they do.

Rating: 8/10

1. Blood of your blood
2. Death coach
3. Isaiah 53:7
4. Shade
5. Dolls
6. Sancta sanctorum
7. Absence of light
8. Maldita seas
9. The dust devil
10. T.U.S.K.
11. The killing floor

Total Playing Time: 44:36

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