Reading four piece Ancient Ascendant have followed up their debut album “The Grim Awakening” with the “Into The Dark” EP. Five tracks combining old school thrash with elements of classic and blackened death metal brought to life by producer Dan Swanö.
Opening up with the short intro which begins with a soft acoustic melody before the rest of the band come in right at the start of ‘Blood Calls’, a sprawling track which veers off in different directions and time changes and embraces everything that we have come to expect from a modern metal release, drawing from several different points of reference.
‘Driven By The Dark’ shows the talent that this band have to full effect. The lead track, with accompanying video expands on ideas from the previous track and shows a little depth to range of ideas. ‘Casting The Shroud Aside’ is full on death metal from the start, and probably the most straightforward track of the five on offer here, and once again it too has its moments where it brings in more experimental ideas, during the solo especially.
Closing track ‘Under Ancient Stone’ ups the pace again with a more black metal feel, although towards the end drifts into something akin to stoner rock with its southern style groove that fits well despite how far removed it is from the early part of the track. For something like this to work is a testament to the talents of the band behind it.
Different enough from a lot of the current breed of death metal to merit a listen, and given a chance, Ancient Ascendant is a band with a lot of potential. Their list of influences reads like a who’s who of late 80‘s & 90‘s extreme metal and throughout this EP, you can find moments that relate to all of them, although it is put together in a very modern way. Alex Butler’s cutting vocals hold everything together well and fit in with all the styles and paths the rest of the band take. Plenty of ideas, plenty to look forward to in the future from this band.