- Band(s): Ascended Dead
- Label(s): 20 Buck Spin
- Release Format(s): 12" vinyl, Cassette, CD
- Release Year: 2023
- Review Date: May 5, 2023
- Author(s): Dzor
Ascended Dead have been one of the more exciting and hard-working underground Death Metal bands of the past decade. While they have only released 2 albums in their 10-year existence, they have a trove of demos, EPs and splits scattered throughout the years, giving us small crumbs of what they decide to unleash next. It’s been over 5 years since we were subject to ‘Abhorrent Manifestation’, an album that was simultaneously a hark back and evolution of 80s Death Metal. Now with the advent of ‘Evenfall of the Apocalypse’, the band has given us another potent dose of unrelenting Death Metal.
The musical lineage of Ascended Dead can be traced to the early days of the genre when it was beginning to become a separate entity to Thrash, emphasizing blistering-fast tempos and swirling guitar riffs. The most blatant comparison would be Morbid Angel, but this is just one piece of the pie as other clear influences shine through such as Necrovore, Blood Spill or even the early extreme metal pioneers of South America. The guitar riffs are frantic, distorted and give the same whirlwind feeling that characterized Trey Azagthoth’s early writing style. The vocals are extremely low, bestial but not guttural – a completely apt companion to the already demented nature of this record. All of this is underpinned by drummer Charlie Koryn, arguably one of the best modern Death Metal drummers. Koryn has always been impressive behind the kit, but his performance this time around shatters the one seen in the debut. This is not surprising not just because of years the drummer has had to hone his craft, but his current and past stints in a wide diverse of bands such as Voidceremony, Chthonic Deity or Negative Prayer to name a few that have likely opened new creative venues for him to explore.
Yet really what has made ‘Evenfall of the Apocalypse’ a more engaging listen than the debut is the collective effort of the band to improve on what I consider two of the main shortfalls it had at times – a production that could have been improved and making the music more diverse. This latter point in particular can be hard to achieve when writing an album that is focused on delivering rapid, lightning-like tempos, but something that has been worked on significantly here. One only must listen to a track like ‘Ungodly Death’ with its vibrant sweeping guitar lines that give the music much more layering. Something similar can be seen with the other main single ‘Inverted Ascension’ in the final section with that builds up to a soaring guitar solo that could have easily been on any Morbid Angel record. Even what can be considered the only real moment of respite on the record (‘Passage to Eternity’), the interplay between the acoustic guitar and the blastbeats is refreshing. This is all before concluding with the grotesque title track closer, which sees all elements come together elegantly – furious chromatic riffing, blasting drums and demonic vocals.
As we reach the mid-mark of 2023, Ascended Dead position themselves as one of the best artists of the year, at least when it comes to Death Metal. Their particular brand of hyper-fast, deranged Death Metal feels in many ways the logical continuation of where the original Death Metal sound of pioneers like Morbid Angel or Necrovore should have evolved to. While Ascended Dead were not the first ones to tread this path in modern times (shout out to Germany’s Beyond) or the existing entity (Omegavortex and Concrete Winds are also taking inspiration from this time period), the US band are certainly the ones taking it to new heights. It will be exciting to see what they come up with next.
20 Buck Spin
- Country: USA
- Style: Black Metal, Death Metal, Doom Metal, Thrash Metal
- Links: Homepage, Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp, Youtube