giovedì 22 giugno 2017

Ascended Dead - "Abhorrent Manifestation" (Dark Descent Records/Invictus Productions, 2017)

Band: Ascended Dead
Title: Abhorrent Manifestation
Genre: Death Metal
Year: 17th March 2017
Time: 37 min circa
Rating: 92/100

The debut album of Ascended Dead has finally arrived! "Abhorrent Manifestation" has come after 6 years into the ranks during which Ascended Dead released a demo in 2012 and the very acclaimed "Arcane Malevolence" EP in 2014. Especially this one, released by the Swedish label Blood Harvest, made Ascended Dead an underground cult pushed also by a certain Gene Palubicki of Angelcorpse fame because he foresaw that this band from San Diego, California, formed by 4 musicians very involved in other many projects, could've accomplished great things in the near future. After that EP, the discography of the band was filled by not one but even two compilations, and the last of them, the interminable "Ritus Mortuus", was released in 2016 by the same Ascended Dead. So, the hype for their long-awaited debut album was incredible into the most extreme sewers of the metal underground in a way very similar to "Hero" of Bölzer or "Primordial Malignity" of Tomb Mold. And the nice thing is that "Abhorrent Manifestation", released in North America by the strong label Dark Descent Records and in Europe by the Irish Invictus Productions, has completely respected the expectations of the fans through 10 strongly killer and memorable songs. But now, how justified is all this big enthusiasm about an album yet considered by many as a death metal classic?

Anyway, there is need to say that the tracklist is composed of 5 new songs while the other ones ("The Promised Time", "Perdition", "Ensnared for Eternity", "Fissure of Chaos" and "Dawn of Armageddon") are re-recordings of numbers yet edited in the past years, starting from the "Arcane Malevolence" EP.

Throughout the album, Ascended Dead create a musical hell of rare proportions playing a death metal characterized by an hyper-violence so excessive that, in the middle of the tracklist, the band included rightly a good acoustic intro called "Dormant Souls", 3 minutes of break before to restart, with even a stronger virulency, the massacre thanks to ultra-intense numbers like "Fissure of Chaos", lasted only 2 minutes.

In fact, "chaos" is a perfect word to describe the deadly assault of Ascended Dead. I say this because every fuckin' track is a triumph of devastation made principally by wild growls, merciless riffs, thundering and killing noisy guitar solos, and a sea of ultra-fast tempos so unstoppable that you can find the first slow tempos only during the 4th track "Ensnared for Eternity"!

In addition of this, all these songs have a sulphurous dark mood in a way very close to Angelcorpse. This is due also to some proud black metal riffs, listenable, for example, in the uncontrollable instrumental finale of "Subconscious Barbarity". It isn't a case if Ascended Dead dub their music with an aptly "Dark Chaotic Death Metal", as you can see on their FB page!
So, I said about hyper-violence, chaos and darkness... but there is another thing that I have need to talk about. What is it? THE TECHNICAL SKILLS! In fact, the death metal of Ascended Dead isn't only violent but also decisevely technical thanks to very complex and dynamic songs able to range from moments of extremely barbaric fury (they sometimes give to you the impression that the turntable has destined to be destroyed by the same music during the listening of the album!) to dark and macabre slowdowns, and both are listenable into "Last Ritual", one of the most better tracks of this debut. Then, CK is a drummer literally tentacular because he create also imaginative patterns even during the most hallucinating speeds, and, for me, it has destined to be in the death metal annals that moment, almost at the end of "Dawn of Armageddon", where he can solely to restore order after an incredible intensity, as if CK were the Dave Lombardo of "Reign in Blood"-era! Finally, congratulations also to the excellent guitar job complete with dissonant riffs, arpeggios ("The Promised Time"), short thrash metal solutions ("Inexorable Death") and the always effective interventions by the lead guitar, not only in the solos.

So, replying to the question at the end of the introduction, the enthusiasm about "Abhorrent Manifestation" is very justified. The fact is that we are talking about a band that, although rooted in the old-school US death metal of bands like Morbid Angel, Immolation, Angelcorpse and Necrovore, has now a unique style combining the most hallucinating violence with excellent technical skills, as well as the most destructive chaos with a dark black/death metal mood that is sometimes very freezing so to play songs that are direct and well structured at the same time. At this point, I think it's useless to say that "Abhorrent Manifestation" is yet on the 1st place of my extreme metal top 10 of this year! All said this, the bassplayer JA has been substituted recently by KS, a veteran musician known for his militancy into bestial black/death metal bands like Weregoat (expect a review about their very fresh debut album in the near future!) and Vassafor (also if he was only a member live of them) but also for his Ritual Necromancy (I'm still waiting for their sophomore album!). With all these experiences, do you think that Ascended Dead will play even with a greater fury with this new bassplayer?


1 - The Promised Time
2 - Blood Thirst
3 - Perdition
4 - Ensnared for Eternity
5 - Dormant Souls
6 - Subconscious Barbarity
7 - Fissure of Chaos
8 - Dawn of Armageddon
9 - Last Ritual
10 - Inexorable Death


JR - vocals/guitars
IL - guitars
JA - bass
CK - drums

Dark Descent Records:
Invictus Productions:

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