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First of all, let me tell you that 'Ascension of Terror' is different from Aeternus’ old releases. While 'Shadows of Old' already took a step away from their original sound and in the direction of Death Metal (and I think they managed very well to combine the two styles on that album), 'Ascension' can only be described as being a pure Death Metal album, although not a typical one. I expect many fans of their older releases to have problems with this album as it doesn’t have too much in common with the highly original, atmospheric ‘Dark Metal’ offered on their first two albums and the 'Dark Sorcery'-EP anymore. I too liked their old sound better, as it was truly unique, and also darker. But that doesn’t mean that Ascension is a bad album. In fact, I think it’s pretty good, and certainly better than their following offerings. While I find most of (newer) Death Metal to be boring, Ascension is not. There are lots of great, brutal riffs to be found here, that you haven’t heard before, and some unusual rhythms, the whole put together to good tracks thanks to experienced songwriting. Overall, the music is mid-tempo, but with enough fast parts and blast-beats to keep it varied. Some few slower parts are also to be found. The technical abilities presented on these tracks are amazing, without the band trying to sound technical for the sake of it. Ares’ vocals have always been more akin to Death Metal growls than typical Black Metal rasps, so they fit the music very well. The production is very powerful and underlines the brutal character of the music. Hints of the folkish melodies that they had on their early releases and which made them so special are still to be found on a few of the tracks here (Possessed by the Serpent’s Vengeance, Denial of Salvation, the Lair of Anubis); and I think that these are the best tracks on this album as it makes them stand out a bit.
If you are looking for well-done, interesting and refreshing Death Metal that doesn’t sound like the 729th Cannibal Corpse copy, then I can definitely recommend Ascension of Terror.