(World Terror Committee, 2014)
As I wrote in my last review of an Ascension release (their Ep “Deathless Light”, acting as a prelude to this full-length album), the band wishes to appear to the public as anonymous, letting the music speak for itself, and they were among the first ones to do it, regardless of the trend today. So we will not go into that in this review either, as we’ll let the music once again speak for itself.
Ascension first appeared to us in 2009 with their magnificent demo “With Burning Tongues”, soon followed by their first full-length “Consolamentum” (a Gnostic baptism ritual of the Cathars) in 2010, both giving a very professional and mature approach to “Religious”, “Occult” or “Spiritual” Black Metal. We have waited four years for a follow-up, and here we are, ready to receive our Revelations.
The album begins with “The Silence Of Abel”, with slow feelings (and riffs of course familiar in style to the previous material) for a few minutes, before exploding into a fierce blast-beating, also familiar from “Consolamentum”. The second song “Death’s Golden Temple” is a bit longer work, and features more variation in riffs and changes in paces compared to the first song. The third song “Black Ember” is a shorter and more intense spell, capturing the attention of those who might have thought the beginning of the album to be too calm. The fourth song “Unlocking Tiamat” features a bit more technical approaches to the basic style of Ascension, and also clear speech-like vocals unheard of before (in style) with this band make their first appearance. The fifth song “Deathless Light” sounds like a true masterpiece in the middle of the album, despite the fact it was featured on the Ep of the same name. This might be the best song of the album. The sixth song “The Dark Tomb Shines” is again perhaps a bit more intense and fast-paced experience after the epic previous masterpiece. One thing in common to all the songs of the album is that they contain many different parts, switching methods of magick with ease and comfort. The seventh and last song “Mortui Mundi” serves as a great ending to this brilliant display of musicianship and strong elevating atmospheres.
The guitars sound and act quite similarly as before, with even some leads here and there having the same “moogy” synth-like (in lack of a better term) effect found on “Consolamentum” as well (if you know what I’m talking about). There are also a few new more effects used, which suit the music great. Everything is played with great skill and a nice amount of variation.
The vocals follow pretty much the same logic as in the previous material, with a few more tricks up their sleeve. The vocalist preaches mostly in the raspy speech-like shouting reminding of typical Black Metal naturally, but also something more mature and intelligent. The drums are played with the same groove and precision as before, staying not too far back or in front in the mix. In fact all the instruments are in quite the perfect equilibrium. Some cool choir-effects here and there lift the music to even higher planes.
The overall sound is pretty similar with the previous albums, clear but murky enough to keep it atmospheric, sounding almost like recorded during the same sessions, regardless of the four year gap between the releases.
While “Consolamentum” featured perhaps simpler songs quite personal and different from each other, trying out a few different ideas among the more basic traditional Black Metal worship, these songs are a bit more similar in nature (compared to each other), at least with the first listens of the album. Then again, there are no clearly boring parts on this album, as the music keeps our Third Eyes focused on majestic Spiritual landscapes throughout the (almost an hour long) album. This is an album that will grow on you the more you listen to it, I’m sure.
The end conclusion is, that since this album contains more material in form of the amount of riffs and changes in the music than “Consolamentum”, this album is a bit superior to the previous work of the band in every way. These songs will entertain greater fans of the band for years to come. Well worth the four year wait!
This should appeal to anyone with an interest to higher (and lower) aspirations of the human psyche, and with musical taste covering a bit more than what 90% of todays “Spiritual Black Metal” has to offer. A definite masterpiece, once again.