Sunday, 23 September 2012

Ancient Ascendant – Into The Dark

Forepoint Records 2012
1.The Veil 2.Blood Calls 3.Driven By The Dark
4.Casting The Shroud Aside 5.Under Ancient Stone
As ‘The Veil’ slowly comes to life, you feel a real atmosphere beginning to stir, melodic acoustic guitars building the tension well before ‘Blood Calls’ bursts out of the speakers, heavy blackened death metal in essence, scathing screamed vocals backed up by guttural growled vocals. The atmosphere created in the short intro track is carried through well into this first full track. There’s a ‘doom’ feel apparent, the band keeping their foot off the pedal in terms of pace, preferring to keep the track slow to mid paced. It’s all very well crafted and shows a real maturity to the bands song writing style – no need for hyper speeds here, the intelligence of the song  is more than enough to keep you entertained. ‘Driven By The Dark’ continues in a similar fashion, but with the inclusion of acoustic melodic interludes which take on an almost progressive feel and sit comfortably amongst the heavier death metal style guitar work. Spiced up with some clever tremolo picked, black metal style riffing and all the elements are there for another outstanding song. As the track draws to an end, there’s real emotion being stirred through the riffs being used and once again being at the slower end of the speed range but it’s the catchiness of the tune that is more than enough anyway. ‘Casting The Shroud Aside’ is another prime example of a band on top of their game and see’s the band adding new elements to their sound, faster blasting sections incorporated in amongst the slower more melodic sections which work well. Blast beats are always going to get the thumbs up! A change in direction vocally as well, the guttural growled vocals taking the lead through this track, but as before, mixed well with the higher screamed style. Alex’s vocal style reminiscent of Johan Hegg of Amon Amarth fame.
Ending this e.p is ‘Under Ancient Stone’ which blasts open furiously, blast beats used plentifully and the general pace of the song a lot faster than seen in the previous tracks. Ancient Ascendant are very good at writing memorable, catchy and likable death metal songs, this final track being a prime example of how to do just that. There’s a slightly more black metal feel to this track, mainly due to the faster riffing and blast beats, which could almost be likened to a lot of the black/death metal that was being spawned from many a Swedish band in the early nineties. One point to note is the first rate production the band have achieved, clear and with a crunch and a heaviness which is a pleasure to listen to. Proving themselves to be one of the better bands in the UK extreme metal underground at the moment, Ancient Ascendant have produced an extremely well written e.p, packed full of intelligent song writing, catchy atmospheres which all smacks of a band who  have found their style and are at ease writing songs which will instantly appeal to a lot of extreme metal fans. Limited to 300 copies, it is probably a good idea that you get yourself a copy of this, as they probably wont be available for very long. Highly recommended
8 out of 10

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