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Cromlech - Ascent Of Kings review

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Band: Cromlech
Album: Ascent Of Kings
Release date: March 2023

01. Cimmeria
02. False Peace / Total War
03. Patria
04. Born With Sword In Hand (Doomed To Martyrdom)
05. Ascent Of Kings
06. Turambar (Master Of Doom/By Doom Mastered)

What is the definition of epic? If you ask multiple people that same question, you will no doubt get a different variation of the answer each time, but what I will tell you is just give a listen to Ascent Of Kings, and you'll understand all there is you need to know.

Cromlech are a heavy/doom metal act who formed back in 2011, so it's fair to say they've been around for a while now; however, they've only released one album prior to this, which was Ave Mortis back in 2013, so they haven't exactly had much to show for their twelve-year existence. Now, ten years later, they return with what is no doubt an ambitious effort by the Canadian heavy metal group, Ascent Of Kings. Here, they bring you epic heavy metal in its truest of forms, whilst blending folk and traditional doom elements into this mighty adventurous hour-long epic.

Despite the hour for which this album runs, there are simply only six tracks featured; however, these tracks are incredibly lengthy, three clocking in at over the epic ten-minute mark. These tracks include the fifteen-minute opener "Cimmeria", the twelve-minute "Ascent Of Kings", and of course the longest of all, the mighty closer "Turambar (Master Of Doom/By Doom Mastered)", measuring in at over a staggering eighteen minutes. So yes, Ascent of Kings most definitely is an ambitious effort from Cromlech to say the least, but here's the important question: is it any good?

Well, the answer to the question above all depends on how you like your heavy metal; this isn't the fast, catchy and traditional sort of heavy metal like you get in NWOBHM, so if that's what you want then, this album could pose a real challenge for you to get into. The production isn't exactly a wow factor either; this isn't the most refined approach to heavy metal, nor will it blow your socks off with pure aggression. However, if epically long tracks filled with haunting, passionate, and heroic choir-like vocals, with soft folk elements combined with traditional heavy doom, and atmospheric melodies with old-school groove sounds like your thing, then you might well be pleased with what Cromlech have accomplished here.

Throughout the album, Kevin Loghnane's heart-filled passionate vocal performance (similar in style to Primordial's Nemtheanga) takes centre stage above all elements, and really wouldn't go amiss in a traditional Celtic folk act; I find his particular vocal style accompanies the heavy doom approach effectively.

One of the most intriguing of the six tracks for me has to be "Ascent Of Kings"; this is mostly an instrumental track, with heavily layered use of multiple guitar styles, including slow-to-mid-tempo doomy riffs, faster-paced traditional heavy metal riffing, long winding ambitious solos, and acoustic melodies. This is then closed in dramatic fashion with heroic chanting, setting you up for the colossal epic that's to come.

"Turambar (Master Of Doom/By Doom Mastered)" is the album's closer, and this begins with a slow, dark doomy rhythm, one that gradually builds up, leading to a faster tempo section in which a lengthy solo kicks in, and the violin in the background adds that folkish beauty. All in all, this is a great closer, even if it does have a tendency to go overboard on the instrumentation at the midway point; I personally wouldn't have minded if five minutes had been taken off, as it still would have been just as bombastic in all honesty.

So, if you have a spare hour in your tight schedule and are looking for some true epic heavy metal with a touch of traditional doom and a splash of folk, then enjoy yourself some Cromlech. Let's just hope now they will stick around, and we won't have another ten-year wait on our hands for their next full-length release.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 7

Written on 30.03.2023 by Feel free to share your views. But be nice.


Comments: 5   Visited by: 67 users
31.03.2023 - 00:49
Rating: 9

I knew you went to enjoy this baby
31.03.2023 - 07:40
Rating: 7
A Nice Guy
Written by mikeprado30 on 31.03.2023 at 00:49

I knew you went to enjoy this baby

I certainly did, thanks
31.03.2023 - 08:42
In my lit class I learned the distinction of fiction literature into lyric (ie poetry), dramatic (ie theater plays), and epic (ie novels). I have a feeling that's not exactly what we mean by epic when we describe music as epic though.
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
02.04.2023 - 14:16

This album is a big improvement on the debut. The longer songs ("Cimmeria", "Ascent Of Kings", and "Turambar") definitely stand out, and I agree with you that the title track is probably the best song. I personally find it to be more 'doom' than 'heavy', with a touch of folk as you pointed out. The songwriting is quite adventurous, despite the fact that the sound is fairly traditional. The more I listen to it, the more I love it, tbh, it's quite a ride. An epic ride, that is.
04.04.2023 - 14:44
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Good reviev even my comment on album, I enjoyed this in a way. Cool and good strong album.
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