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'Ascending Hate'
(AFM Records)

jools green

Jools Green


'Ascending Hate' is the ninth full length from Italian black/gothic Metal five piece Graveworm, although much of that gothic edge is lost since the departure of keyboard player Sabine Mair in 2012. This latest release is more of a slightly symphonic, melodic black Metal offering.

Concerning listen-ability, it's a release that is worth persevering with. The first few tracks didn't really cut it with me initially but after a few listens started to grow on me and the further in you go into the release the better the tracks sound. It's a solid but not outstanding release; I like the depth, range and gnarly nature of the vocals but little more inflection in places would add a lot. Where this does happen it's quite impressive and there are also some rather excellent chunks of riffing and drum work at times.

On the first track, 'The Death Heritage', I loved the gentle guitar opener. It suggested a promise of so much to follow as it built, encompassing a whole minute and a half, until the punchy intense riffing arrives which I really liked, then it's an intense blackened offering pretty much all the way, but it took several listens to work out why this didn't quite gel with me and I think it's that the melodic elements didn't quite live up to the rest of the track and it's a tiny bit long at seven minutes.

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'Buried Alive' has a great keyboard garnished opener that gives a subtle symphonic feel and the opening roar is excellent, as is the riffing, but I felt something was missing.

By the third track, 'Blood, Torture And Death', things start to pick up with a nice bleak melody that pops up from time to time and weaves its way through along with vitriolic gargling screams.

On 'To The Empire Of Madness' the subtle haunting keyboards in the background work well along with the wall of morose and intense riffing that often spirals as it builds, to great effect.

By the time the album reaches 'Downfall Of Heaven' it starts to get very interesting, a blackened opener of bleak piano work followed by intense riffs and great crescendos of drum and cymbal work completed my a mighty blood curdling roar, ramping up to pan out into an a crushing blackened offering of intense riffing interspersed with haunting keyboards and a tempo that changes to melodic and morose and back again.

The hugely atmospheric and moody 'Stillborn' has a broader scope to the vocals which take on a nice depressive blackened edge across this slower tempo, darkly depressive offering which had a very effective rise and fall to its construct.

'Liars To The Lions' is an intense, full on, black Metal offering from the off-set, good vocals and a fast punchy tempo alongside enough of a melodic element to make it interesting and a mid point drop-away to add a moody quality.

'Rise Again' has a piano led opener with a drum build opening out into a track that is moody and symphonic with burst of high profile drumming and a harrowing first half sound-bite for extra effect. It's a track that is also very varied in its tempo and direction, switching often and keeping you interested throughout.

'Son Of Lies' has the best opener, it fills you with excitement, intense blackened riffing, great drum patterns and a decent dose of cymbal work. It continues in this very positive manner with the addition of a nice crushing repeat riff, with accompanying blasting drum work and nicely broad ranging vocals. There also is a brief mid-point poignant pause for added drama; an excellent track.

The album ends superbly with 'Nocturnal Hymns II (The Death Anthem)', intense blackened riffing and a gargling opening roar expanding out to a track that gradually builds in tempo and the drums make their presence felt more and more the further in you get, with subtle melody and symphonic elements adding extra depth and texture.

Overall, 'Ascending Hate' is certainly worth giving a listen, particularly if you prefer a melodic edge.

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