Tag Archives: Ascension

Ascension – The Dead Of The World

(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.

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Interview with Ascension

Ascension came to our awareness with their brilliant 2009-Demo “With Burning Tongues”, before completely proving their superior skills with their first full-length “Consolamentum”. Now, when the first reviews of their greatest masterpiece to date, “The Dead Of The World” begin to spread word of this band to those as well whom have missed the band in previous times, the time to show the Black Metal underground (filled with trendy clones of “Spiritual” and “Occult” nature) how true works of the Art are done is at hand. We will skip the speculations regarding whom may possibly play in the band, and let the faceless aspect of Ascension speak for the band.

Greetings! How are your feelings now that “The Dead Of The World” begin to spread the plague of your message?

Good, for the greater part. It is always hard to let something go that you love and hate in equal amounts. Something dies inside of you every time but that is the path we have chosen and that is how its supposed to be, I guess.

If I remember correctly, Ascension was among the first Black Metal bands to appear to the public as anonymous, letting the music speak for itself. Now, years later, it seems that (besides “Religious” and “Esoteric” topics becoming an ever-increasing huge trend in Black Metal) there’s a huge amount of bands surfacing anonymous, and the whole idea has lost it’s atmosphere. Do you agree?

I don´t know, to be honest. I am not following the contemporary scene too much. But everyone has the right to do whatever they want. The initial idea of being anonymous was to give people the chance to focus on the music, lyrics and artwork, with us acting as mere shadows building the entity of Ascension. When taking peoples approach towards Ascension into account, I daresay that we have succeeded.

There are many opinions of the fundamental nature of Black Metal, ranging from Intolerance and Fascism to extreme Individualism and Anarchy. Do you see Black Metal as fundamentally Spiritual, or Religious even?

Yes, it is. The fundament of black metal has always been it´s spiritual, otherworldly and transcending approach. It is the music of the Devil.

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Is Black Metal to you a form of Art soaring above basic Metal-mentalitites, or is this simply a “rocking” style of choice, favoured as the vessel with which to convey the Spiritual aspects of your psyches?

Taking into consideration what I said above, it is obviously more than another music genre to drink beer to. Black Metal deals with very powerful and dangerous entities. Entities that are everlasting and older than time.

The theme of the new album seems to be Death. Are you more (in this case) interest in the Alchemical Death of the feeble human Ego before rising from the ashes as a higher being, or in the total final Death ending the human Life?

The main topic of the new album is indeed Death, in many different aspects. „The Dead Of The World“ is an album about physical death as much as it is about spiritual death. It deals with a very sincere neglect of the mundane world in favour of the devotion towards our gods. Generally speaking, it is for people that consciously have chosen to turn away from god and the world in order to step into eternal darkness over the dead bodies of those left behind.

As you have been fascinated with Gnostic ideas (especially on “Consolamentum”), and as we have witnessed, the Black Metal community tends to make Satanic versions of just about every previously conceived Spiritual current, do you see any fundamental difference in the end results of the so-called Left Hand (so popular in todays Black Metal naturally) or the Right Hand Paths?

Yes, I do. But this is nothing I want to go into detail with in an interview. Let´s keep it this way: There are some lyric lines on the new album that deal quite obviously with the breaking of taboo or the violent tearing down of set moral standards. Maybe you will find your answer there.

The fans of your music had to wait four years for a follow-up to “Consolamentum”, an album which got many an individual highly interested in your Great Work. Although this waiting-period was not too long, I’m still interested in knowing what you did in between these albums? Does the music of Ascension usually form slowly, and get perfected with a lot of time?

After „Consolamentum“ we felt empty for a while. This is something quite natural for us. It takes time until new inspiration flows and get´s to a point where it cannot be held back anymore. Furthermore we started playing live which changed a lot of things as well. On top of that, our approach towards our art is a very sincere one. We give us all the time we need in order to create something of importance and significance for us. That process is anything but easy, taking into consideration the mentalities of the band members. After four years however, we succeeded and „The Dead Of The World“ will be released on the 24th of December 2014 by WTC in Europe and on a license basis by Season Of Mist in North America.

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Without revealing the actual members of the band, naturally, has the line-up(s) changed much after “Consolamentum”? Does the band today function in the studio as well as in the live-situation?

The line-up hasn´t changed since the founding in 2007. It goes without saying that the studio and the live line-up is exactly the same.

The new album features vocals by Mors Dalos Ra of Necros Christos as well as Magus Wampyr Daoloth of classic Necromantia. Also, the cover art is done by Erik of Watain. Do you have much contacts in the German (or global) music world, or do you prefer to keep your contacts to a quality minimum?

Let me correct you on one matter: The artwork was done by David Glomba, a very young and talented artist from whom we will hear a lot more in the future, I am sure. The layout was done by Trident Arts, yes.

I wouldn´t say that we have many contacts, it´s more that we choose quite carefully with whom we work or, in general, deal with. Mors Dalos Ra is a very important artist for us and a close friend. The Magus is part of one of the most interesting and best Black Metal bands ever. We are extremely honored to have both on the record exactly as we wanted it to be.

You have worked with World Terror Committee throughout your career. This cooperation seems to be a fruitful one?

Obviously. 

Thank you very much for this short interview. Please share us some future plans of the band. Do you plan to play live much? How long do we have to wait for new musical material?

Ascension will head out for a European Tour for the first time ever from the 19th of February until the 1st of March, 2015 together with Bölzer, Vassafor and Dysangelium. Find the dates for the „Under Four Wings Of Death“ on our facebook page at:

www.facebook.com/Ascension.Germany

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Taking into consideration what I said above on how the band works, I cannot estimate how long it will take us to create anything new. Maybe Ascension will release something in 1 year, maybe never. For now, „The Dead Of The World“ is the epitome of our achievements and our beloved and hated child.

Thank you for the interview.

Heil Luzifer!

Ascension – Deathless Light

(World Terror Committee, 2014)

There have been speculation about the mysterious members of Ascension, but since this is apparently irrelevant for the feeling being summoned by their music, we honour the attitude of the band and leave these guessings (or facts) out of this review.

In my personal opinion, every since their lengthy demo “With Burning Tongues”, Ascension has given the sometimes much needed “matureness” to the world of Religious, Spiritual or Occult Black Metal (or whatever you wish to call it).

Their first full-length “Consolamentum” and it’s preceding Ep “Fire And Faith” was a slight progress to the sound Ascension introduced us with their magnificent demo, and left us yearning for more. Now our prayers have been answered in the form of an upcoming full-length and an Ep once again prior to the album.

The Ep offers us two lengthy songs, “Deathless Light” and “Gardens Of Stone” (the first one being more intense while the later one more calm), which continue musically where the previous material left off.

The chords and melodies of the guitars bring to mind maybe Watain, but not with that amount of Dissection-worship. The welcomed peculiarity of Ascension is in my opinion the well-played Prog-Rock-like leads (often reminding me of Pink Floyd) which echo above the main riffs.

Just like the guitarist, the drummer plays well, dealing mostly in fast-paced blasts, sometimes slowing down with the songs to mid-tempo or slower beats.

Once again the vocalists as well sounds great, with his extremely well performed screaming shouting chanting, which offers the words nicely audible.

The whole soundscape bathes in just the right amount of reverb, making the whole experience sound even more than before like being performed inside some massive Heretic Cathedral. Spice this up with some cool effects and such and you’ve got the soundtrack to a leather-clad metalists Luciferian Gnostic Ascension!

This serves as great appetizer to the upcoming album. If you are new to Ascension, but are a fan of bands like Watain, Mortuus, Katharsis etc. this might make you feel truly (un)holy. And for the older fans, this Ep offers the same quality Black Metal Ascension always have graced us with.

8/10 – Antti Mikonmäki

Ascension (Facebook)