Ancient Ascendant - Echoes And Cinder review
|Album:||Echoes And Cinder|
|Release date:||March 2014|
01. Crones To The Flames
02. Patterns Of Bane
04. Fuelling The Flare
06. To Break The Binds
07. The Toll Of Mourning
08. Caged In Tunnels Of Time
Do you remember a time when blackened death metal was exciting? No doubt you do if the recent Behemoth's your thing, in which case your excitement over their new record, or even your disappointment, may have you looking for other spins within this area of metal. Although of an entirely different breed Ancient Ascendant do things very differently, blending the old elements in a new way. They worship not Satan, but, with their sound firmly founded in a melodically inflected death metal, they worship the blackened fires of thrash.
Echoes And Cinder is melodic incineration from its vicious beginning to its hook prone end. The only respite is in "Embers," two and a half minutes of crackling flame, acoustic strings, sombre piano and ritualistic percussion and chanting all closely gathered together, as the short track acts as the album's central interludial warmth.
Aside from this, things aren't so much warm as they are intensely hot, all seven of the surrounding tunes being fuelled by a unique meeting of Amon Amarth type melodic death, biting thrash, some meaty death metal flesh and some black metal burn around the edges. The blackening of the sound seems to penetrate deep into the core at times, such as in "Patterns Of Bane," whereas at others thrash becomes the main incentive; see the more rollicking "Riders," which reminds me of Vektor's technical and progressive thrashings.
The ability to transition between denser death segments and into more melodically enticing moments is guaranteed to keep a wide variety of death metal fans interested. This is an extremely effective technique which is hugely beneficial to the record overall and provides clear track distinction and variation. What's more, this is all maintained with a prominent thrashing intensity throughout the record, never offering a slip-up in terms of punchy rhythms, guitar licks and resilient tempos. Generally where the blackened nature rears its head most obviously is in these more chunky death components as well as with the swift chord shifts carrying fleeting yet enhancing impressions of technical thrash. All this offers a multi-directional visceral assault within the impressive scope of this record.
Simply stated, the growls of Alex Butler are phenomenally good. Delivered with scarring clarity, the lyrics burn their impression in the mind of the listener amidst the entire experience, which in itself is tailor-made for his blackened style of exceptionally clear pronunciation. As much is made abundantly clear with his first venomous vocal lashing in the tearing opener "Crones To The Flames," which opens up the album on such a high note that I would never have expected the level of quality to maintain its equilibrium all the way through the album. To my great delight, it does.
As this was mixed and mastered by the great Swanö, who has also expressed his admiration for the band, I don't think there's anything I need to add as far as the production goes. Superb work as usual.
Ancient Ascendant have taken the blackened death sound to a very exciting place indeed, and Echoes And Cinder is the result of the band's brightly burning creativity.
||Written on 28.03.2014 by R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.|
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