Wayward Dawn – All-Consuming Void Review

Danish death metallers Wayward Dawn entered my life right when I needed a swift and relentless jackhammering to the nuts. Their sophomore album Haven of Lies was my first exposure to the band, landing right when lockdowns were setting in around the world as Covid began its malevolent quest to disrupt the world as we knew it. In fact, as far as I can recall, the video for “Sophomania” was the first of the many “made-in-isolation” music videos from that era that I encountered. I remember being shocked at how utterly solid Wayward Dawn’s brawny death metal sound was on Haven of Lies, and I was even more shocked that I was one of the first few people to purchase the record on Bandcamp—and the record is still criminally under-supported on there. What are you readers even doing out there?! Get on it! Anyway, fast forward two years, and Wayward Dawn is preparing to drop their third record All-Consuming Void. I hope my body is ready.

This is my second go-around with Wayward Dawn, and it only cements a fact that was apparent on their last record: these guys have grasped the concept of Occam’s Razor when it comes to death metal. Not a single note, beat, riff, or grunt is here needlessly. Channeling Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower, and Dismember and clocking in at seven tracks and just over 33 minutes, All-Consuming Void is an exercise in simple brutality that does more with its time than most death metal bands can pull off in double. First single, and subject of the charmingly lo-fi video shown below, “Cage of Resentment” shows the band picking up right were Haven of Lies left off. The song chugs, tremolos, noodles, squeals, and flat-out crushes, and like a champion prize fighter, it knocks you senseless in under three minutes.

If you could harness the energy produced by the average metalhead headbanging and air-guitaring, you could solve humankind’s contribution to climate change by playing All-Consuming Void on repeat. There are so many twists, turns, and riffs on this record that I find it incredibly hard to sit still while it’s playing. Whether it’s the gargantuan breakdown on “Bottomless Pit,” the serpentine tremolos of “The Crushing Weight,” or the furious intro to “House of Mirrors,” there’s always something compelling happening on the album. I was nervous when I saw that closer “Pull of the Boulder” was over twelve minutes long—that’s nearly 40% of All-Consuming Void’s runtime—but Wayward Dawn succeeds on the behemoth by doing exactly what they do on their shorter tracks: riff early and often. The track throws a bit of doom into the mixture, and the constant change-ups make it an excellent close to the album.

While it’s loud, the production works really well for Wayward Dawn’s sound. The guitar tone merges with the bass to create an immense sound that imbues the riffs with fearsome might. Vocalist Kasper Szupienko Peterson has an incredible classic death metal voice, and the band’s whole sound combines to feel like an authentically fresh representation of a genre that’s entering middle age. Death metal fans should drink this whole thing up, because it goes down as easily as eight Miller Lites back-to-back. A couple of the tracks (“Disorienting Verminosity” and “Isolation”) don’t quite live up to the highlights, but they’re still good, solid tunes. The killers are “Cage of Resentment,” “The Crushing Weight,” “Bottomless Pit,” “House of Mirrors,” and “Pull of the Boulder.”

A couple of weeks ago, my wife walked in while I was listening to this record and said, “You know this is terrible right? This music is shit.” I can’t think of a more resounding confirmation that these guys rule. On the heels of its killer predecessor, All-Consuming Void has solidified Wayward Dawn as one of the most consistent pure old-school death metal bands running. I hope these guys don’t stop releasing killer death metal albums anytime soon. Please carry on, my Wayward Dawn!

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Emanzipation Productions
Websites: waywarddawn.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/waywarddawn
Releases Worldwide: September 9th, 2022

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