Release Date: Jan 27, 2015
Record label: Season of Mist
Meat-and-potatoes atmospheric black metal might sound like an oxymoron, but Germany’s Ascension pull it off perfectly. With disharmonious guitar leads and whirlwind blast beats, the band creates a sense of the grandiose and apocalyptic that will satisfy fans of Marduk and Belphegor who are looking for something to scratch their basic itch. While not necessarily remarkable, The Dead of the World is a reliable slab of unspeakable evil, and bodes well for Ascension’s bright future in a grim subgenre.
When I saw the German black metal band Ascension at Maryland Deathfest in 2013, they were among the most memorable acts, largely because it was hard to know what to make of them. After being battered with a weekend of booze and an especially pulverizing set from the war metal group Revenge, their performance took on semi-psychedelic qualities. Their identities remain unknown, which is not all that unusual for a black metal group, but their singer was unmistakable, resembling a zombified '70s John McLaughlin with longer hair and a creepier disposition.
Review Summary: If you only listen to 100 "crushing" albums with "killer riffs" this year, make this your 101st.Ascension have always been a band completely of the moment. Without relying on throwbacks or "old school" aesthetic, these German metallers have always managed to sound strikingly modern, congealing with the glut of black metal bands popping up like weeds. It is to their benefit, however, to latch on to such a trend.
Last year was a strong one for metal — extreme and otherwise — but the world keeps turning, bands keep writing, and the rent is still due. We’ve barely gotten past the honeymoon stage with 2015, but the first quarter already features a bevy of new records from trustworthy old-timers and intriguing new blood. With love to quality entries from Blind Guardian, Exhumed, and MisÞyrming, here are the best new metal releases of the young year thus far.