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Rating:
8.7
Ancient Ascendant - Echoes And Cinder
24 March 2014


01. Crones To The Flames
02. Patterns Of Bane
03. Riders
04. Fuelling The Flare
05. Embers
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.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Band profile: Ancient Ascendant
Album: Echoes And Cinder


 



Written on 28.03.2014 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
More reviews by R'Vannith ››



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psykometal - 28.03.2014 at 16:26  
Was not expecting this review to be by you. I haven't listened to this yet, but I checked them out a year ago or so when I was contacted, via pm, by both Alex and Alan about getting their profile activated here.

I recall thinking what I listened to back then was OK, but not very spectacular. But this receiving such high praise from you here certainly piques my interest.
Apothecary - 28.03.2014 at 17:24  
That cover alone made me want to check this out when I first saw it, but now your review has me even more curious!
Verdun_sc - 28.03.2014 at 21:09  
Listened to a few songs on youtube... Nothing stands out. And I hate the production, it makes it all sound really weak...
Fallen Ghost - 29.03.2014 at 01:20  
Listened a few times to this, sounds quite interesting, will listen more! Thanks for reviewing this
R'Vannith - 29.03.2014 at 03:10  
Written by psykometal on 28.03.2014 at 16:26

Was not expecting this review to be by you. I haven't listened to this yet, but I checked them out a year ago or so when I was contacted, via pm, by both Alex and Alan about getting their profile activated here.

I recall thinking what I listened to back then was OK, but not very spectacular. But this receiving such high praise from you here certainly piques my interest.


I have noticed that the fellas have user accounts here when I checked their band profile. I became familiar with the band through Nefarious promoting their previous EP in the CC's, which is where I was introduced to the band's sound. This album really cemented my interest, so I'd definitely recommend giving them a shot with this new one.
R'Vannith - 29.03.2014 at 03:12  
Written by Fallen Ghost on 29.03.2014 at 01:20

Listened a few times to this, sounds quite interesting, will listen more! Thanks for reviewing this


You're most welcome. Hope you enjoy!
Cynic Metalhead - 29.03.2014 at 16:13  
Gonna check it out this.

Review is lascivious.
Apothecary - 30.03.2014 at 18:34  
After checking this out, I'll say I probably wouldn't score it as highly as you did, but it deserves at least an 8, very solid stuff. I also like the comparison you drew to Vektor. Of course they're not an exact clone, but the music does indeed get slightly technical at points, and the bass tone when it just is just eargasmic.
SordiDControlleR - 02.04.2014 at 19:28  
I have some older material, it had potential. This is A upgrade for the band in A good direction, going to give it A couple of more spins & SEE!~~~~~~
Ag Fox - 05.04.2014 at 18:13  
Nice review. I'll see if I can squeeze time to check them out (=

EDIT: yep, pretty good, cheers (=

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