The local Los Angeles metal scene is a thriving with some of the most compelling bands in the genre today – one such collective being the mighty Abysmal Dawn. Playing dark, atmospheric yet very thrashing death metal, Abysmal Dawn has gained a good deal of notice and respect since their inception. Their latest release Leveling The Plane of Existence is a devastating, personal work for the band. We recently caught up with founding member Charles Elliott to find out more about the rise of the complex entity known as Abysmal Dawn.
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Abysmal Dawn, and how long the band has been together.
This is Charles Elliott I play guitar and sing in Abysmal Dawn. I formed the band in 2003, we put out our first demo in 2004 and first album in 2006.
As a long time veteran of our local Los Angeles metal scenes, what are your impressions of what our scene has to offer?
It’s a good varied and very competitive scene. Mostly thrash bands seem to be popping up in Los Angeles these days but that’s always changing. Some great local talent though that’s for sure.
How does Leveling The Plane of Existence compare to the previous Abysmal Dawn releases?
I think the production is a lot clearer and more modern sounding while still being organic. I’m definitely happier with the performances this time around. I feel like these are our best songs yet by far as well. We added a new drummer and I played all the guitars on the record minus a few guest solos so that’s a bit different as well. It sort of combines our first two records but it even heavier, catchier and more technical than those releases.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Leveling The Plane of Existence?
Ultimately it’s about renewal. That relates to my personal life as well but on bigger scale it’s about setting the planet back to zero. Destroying something in order to create something new.
Where did you get your ideas for the lyrics this time around? Please select two songs in particular and tell me what inspired you to write the lyrics?
From all over but mostly personal experiences and the difficult times I was going through while writing and recording the album. “Pixilated Ignorance” was partially inspired by the movie “Videodrome” though. It plays with the idea that television and other sources of media physically alter our brains, the way we think and how we feel physically. “Manufactured Humanity” is about sharing a cell with your clone as they try to pick apart what makes you you so that they can give that to your clone. It ends with killing your clone, which I imagine must be an odd feeling to basically kill yourself. Most of the rest of the lyrics are pretty personal though.
Who did the cover art for Leveling The Plane Of Existence and how much input did you have on it?
Pär Olofsson did the cover and he’s done all our covers so far. I basically gave him the title and concept and bounced ideas back and forth with him. With our first album I think I tried to dictate specifically what I wanted. I’ve learned that when we collaborate more it comes out much cooler and we’re both happier that way as well.
How has it felt to get back and play some shows around town?
Great! We’ve been inactive for a while just writing the record and now we’re out doing what we love best again, which is playing shows!
What could one expect from a live Abysmal Dawn 2011 show?
Just raw energy. We’ve never done anything to fancy onstage other than just pour our hearts and souls into the music live. We like to interact with the crowd and when they reciprocate that the show is that much more devastating.
What was it like working with Moyses Kolesne of Krisiun and how did he become involved with the album?
We toured with Krisiun back in 2006 and became good friends with those guys. I always wanted either Moyses or Alex to do something on our records since “Programmed to Consume” but it never worked out. This time I was recording all the guitar parts and had to write a ton of solos. I asked Moyses, and Kragen of Prototype and Heathen too actually, if he wanted to do a solo to sort of alleviate some of the pressure on me. I was lucky to get them both to do something because I like both their styles a lot.
The Katyklysm tour sounds like an exciting bill! How long has it been since Abysmal Dawn has been on a major tour and what are you looking forward to the most about the tour?
It’s definitely the biggest tour we’ve done since 2006, which was with Six Feet Under, Krisiun and Decapitated. We’ve done other smaller tours since then so we’re really excited to be on something bigger. Just looking forward to playing these new songs to a ton of potential new fans.
What was it like opening for the legendary Emperor and did you get to hang out with them at all?
It was great man! One of the biggest shows we’ve ever played. They pretty much kept to themselves so we didn’t really interact with them no.
Do you have any messages for metal fans out here in the Los Angeles area?
Support your local music scene and go to shows. Support your favorite bands on tour too and buy something from them because touring isn’t cheap. See you all on the road in 2011!
Abysmal Dawn is:
Charles Elliott: guitars, vocals
Scott Fuller: drums
Mike Cosio: bass
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
Abysmal Dawn Official Home Page