Words by Michael Naidos
After a career spanning over two decades, through multiple band changes, shifts in genre and some legal complications causing the band to break up from 2014-2016, Dawn of Ashes founder and frontman Kristof Bathory has brought the band’s namesake into fruition with a brand-new album Scars of the Broken.
Bathory continues Dawn of Ashes with a return to its roots, reincarnating the sound of the industrial rock influences of 80s groups such as Ministry and Skinny Puppy.
“All of the musical and lyrical content was straight from a place that I have been dealing with for a long time of my life. I poured out every darkest and deepest emotion into every song”, says Bathory. “Mental health is something that a lot of people struggle with, and sometimes it just needs to be heard through music.”
Scars of the Broken serves as the perfect vessel for such a thing, full of dark, atmospheric industrial sounds mixed with horrific samples to immerse the listener in Bathory’s pain. The cogs get moving with the strong beat of Love is Asphyxiation. The snarling vocals compliment the anxiousness encapsulated by the backing track and lyrical theme. The way Bathory can ingest a sense of claustrophobia through the repeating of “I’m suffocating” during the bridge proves that Dawn of Ashes have what it takes to achieve their goal of showcasing emotional profundity through their music.
The next track, The Despondent Hole, elaborates the feeling of depression with the music’s gothic undertones and accurate depiction of mental illness within the lyrics. The hard, pumping rhythm throughout the belting chorus of “falling down into darkness” exceeds at creating a sing-along anthem for those overwhelmed by the feeling of despair.
EMDR is the album’s first single and paces along effectively with a prominent vocal structure. The slow beat connects emotionally with the theme of lamenting over loneliness and questionable Stockholm Syndrome tendencies that appear in many a relationship’s disconnect.
One of my favourite songs off the album is Bane of your Existence. Another anthemic song of heartbreak and a powerful example of Bathory wearing his heart on his sleeve. The dropouts throughout the composition get addictive as the song returns, each time more powerful than the last.
It Comes in Waves builds and sludges its way through the process of letting go while Turn it Shallow amps things up in the somewhat sanguine embracing of the separation.
The title track switches pace with the slow trance of synthesizers and allocated bass thump, ready to be the soundtrack to a late night celebration of empowerment. Scars of the Broken continues the trend of anthems, as well as showcasing some of the most introspective and mature lyrics on the album.
Dawn of Ashes certainly has made the move of the Phoenix, rising and evolving in spectacular fashion as a band. Through dark tones and cathartic lyrics, the album has successfully captured the darkness of a mind haunted by depression and loneliness that is sure to connect with an audience lost in the doldrums.