Hot on the tail of 2011s 'The Grim Awakening' full length release, Reading based death Metal quartet Ancient Ascendant now have a four track EP, 'Into The Dark', and good grief, is it ever excellent. Every time I listen the hair on the back of my neck is up!
Ancient Ascendant are one of those bands that just manage to tick all the boxes for me. They have a catchy groove running below the surface and play a dark death Metal that is a perfect balance of melody and brutality. The level of musicianship within this band is just excellent and Alex Butler has an absolutely astounding vocal range, from deep growl to scathing hiss.
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Opening with 'The Veil', a serene instrumental intro of acoustic guitar and atmospheric cymbals that lulls you into a safe feeling and then without warning, you are slammed straight into a wall of sound that is 'Blood Calls', an excellent track with superb harsh vocals and the melodic riffs have a subtle groove to them but the overall sound is still brutal and the drums are powerful and pounding.
Opening on an excellent riff, 'Driven By The Dark' is the longest track of the EP and although it's really difficult to choose a best track, this has such a catchy groove that it sticks in your mind in a really addictive way. It grooves, it chugs and has a couple of little tranquil moments where you wonder where the track will take you next. One thing is for sure, by the third listen, you will be singing along and you won't be able to sit still to listen either.
Opening on a haunting broken drum beat 'Casting The Shroud Aside' is packed to the gunnels once again with excellent vocals, stunning drum work and superb soaring riffs and for good measure a tasty guitar solo.
Bringing the EP to a conclusion, 'Under Ancient Stone' picks up the pace with a faster tempo and the vocals are even more scathing, a complex track with some really excellent guitar and drum work, an excellent final track.
This is an excellent EP, as was their 2011 full length, 'The Grim Awakening'. They are a truly outstanding band.
If you like death Metal that is high quality because the production is first rate also, with good melody but at the same time brutal you will love this. At a modest twenty two minutes long you will be able to listen twice, which is good, because once is not enough.
'Into The Dark' is out now on Siege of Amidia Records.