Hailing from France, Reverence deal in a slightly industrialised tone of black metal, stepping away from their earlier works of pure black metal nihilism. Slicing huge synth lines into the proceedings of “The Asthenic Ascension” and opening track ‘Earth’ to create a wonderfully claustrophobic ambience, Reverence bear similarities to countrymen Blut Aus Nord in their use of curious dissonant constructs. The bass has a deeply unpleasant tone that shifts uncomfortably between the dense layers of guitar progressions and the swirling and encompassing voice of I.Luciferia.
“The Asthenic Ascension” is a record of fury and immediacy; it pulls you into a vortex of disgust and disparate impenetrability whilst maintaining a sweet and deadly desire to want more from this three-piece. It’s dangerously intoxicating with a sense of unfathomable neurosis seeping down into the psyche. ‘The Descent’ comes along in huge swathes of symphonic delicacy whist pulsing with a disharmonic energy and segues into ‘Psalm IV’ with hardly any time to catch a breath. The pace is altogether unrelenting, each track filling the entire given space and each element pounds with an unsettling mastery.
The pummelling nature of ‘Ghost of Dust’ grinds with a sweltering beat and pure moments of vocal intensity. Clean sections burst through the staggeringly thick waves of guitar and solid bass lines. Technical death metal elements rear in ‘Cold Room’ the vocal rumbling and soaring in equal measure – Reverence pulling in a tonally different direction to great effect and it hurtles along with a treacherous and boisterous arrogance.
Closing on title track “The Asthenic Ascension,” Reverence’s fourth full length ends with a disturbing and strangely noise-less introduction. Profoundly resonant strikes fall away, slowly losing strength and sound level as they fade into the abyssal pit. Of course this respite from opaque structures doesn’t last long, and ‘The Asthenic Ascension’ continues to hammer with massive drapes of darkness and swelling symphonic harmonies. It’s huge and the more gentle passages only serve to prove how intensely enormous this record is. Majestic and occasionally terrifying, “The Asthenic Ascension” is cold and merciless and worthy of your time.