Ascendant – “Serenity” EP


serenity-ascendant Ascendant formed in Denmark during 2006 under their original name of Amorém. Over the years they made single recordings and played several concerts in Denmark and Germany. Alongside crafting their debut full-length album, ‘The Alteration’ (January 2012) they also decided to launch it under their new name. They stated “Ascendant for us means to look back on our ancestors, especially our ancestors from the Old Testament. But ascendant is also a synonym for Jesus who ascended from death.” Their style was likened to blackened death metal with progressive metalcore. It could be compared to A Hill To Die Upon, At The Gates, Becoming The Archetype, Gojira, Meshugga and Pantokrator.

The line-up was to become Josua Poulsen (lead vocal), Levi Rauff (drums), Jens Grønhøj (bass & backing vocals) and Kristoffer Vammen (guitar). Their follow-up ‘Serenity’ EP was launched at Elements of Rock 2014. The recording was done in Aarhus in Denmark at “the underworld” which is Levi’s home studio.  They used tube mics for vocal and acoustics guitars, and then a tube preamplifier for every track. It gives a depth to the sound, along with mastered though analogue equipment. They continue to combine unblack and progressive death metal, but with more melodic elements.

A guitar riff intro to ‘The Void’ leads to thunderous drumming, black metal shrieks and death metal growls. There is also a cleanly shouted vocal section “What if I spoke when my tongue was numb / What if I told when my heart was in pain / What if I asked you forgive and forget / What if I wasn’t so afraid” before it moves into an acoustic guitar. Then it’s back to the heavy plodding guitars.

The thunderous drumming and metalcore guitar recurs in ‘Serene’ which maintains a darkly brooding atmosphere. “Again you stand / alone and victorious / between cracks in our ground of stone / Again you stand / Unfolded and exposed / Forgotten miracle / Hidden divinity you are”.

‘When We Blindly Follow The Enigma’ has a progressive metal intro section before lightning fast drumming abruptly changes the tempo for the melodic death metal assault. “The light of truth reveals our deeds / Our actions, our words, our subtle allusions / The light shines bright at the pain we’ve created / The torment on the soul, the body and mind / Why are we blind?”

Having reprised the style found on ‘The Alteration’ album, it is again found rampaging through ‘The Foundation’. The progressive side resurfaces with tempo changes as they trudge into doom territory before clawing out of the abyss. “Look through the blinds, cast light / Submerge, uncover the truth / See that I am who I am”

If you have Extol’s last album in your collection, you may well consider adding ‘Serenity’ too.

Rating: 7.5/10

Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby

1. The Void (5:33)
2. Serene (5:04)
3. When We Blindly Follow The Enigma (5:19)
4. The Foundation (5:32)

“The Alteration” [2012] (review)
“Serenty” EP [2014]

Record Label: Europe (Independent), USA (Shigionoth Records), March/May 2014

Weblinks: Website / Facebook / Bandcamp

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
Metal Helm

Interview with Ascendant [April 2014]

Video below ‘The Foundation’

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