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Underappreciated - 86%

BassLord, April 24th, 2008

Ascendancy always seemed like a sort of darkhorse to me in regards to the scene they were apart of. Though even I can admit that their music was always somewhat challenging to the listener, I feel they never garnered the appreciation that they really deserved.

Their music itself, is a little difficult to describe, almost bordering on ultra fast melodic death metal, but not really like many bands have attempted before. The riffs tend to go all over the place, being very soaring and melodic one moment, and then veering into very dissonant riffing the next. All of which is almost constantly underpined by growling vocals and seemingly endless blast beats, which slow down just enough to offer a sense of groove or greater sense of melody. The slow melodic, drone section in "Forever Desensitised" is a great example of their overall style, and probably my favorite song of their's overall.

Though I like this release, it certainly has it's flaws. The recording quality certainly has that of a demo, and the lack of a powerful recording sound can make the material sound very flat at times. Also the drumming can prove to be something of a weakness at times. The drummer sounds like he knows what he needs to do, but much of the time sounds as if the material is too technical for him. His somewhat sloppy performance, and lack of flow or many good fills for that matter, definetly damage the band on the whole.

I honestly think if the band had changed just a few details at this point in their career, they could have risen much higher than they did before they threw in the towel. I aquired this demo after aleady owning their full length album for a while, and I honestly saw more potential in this release. Though the "Rise of a Dead Empire" was a good album, the flaws on this release only become more apparent with the greatly increased sound quality, such as the obvious need for a better drummer. Also, the bands material shifted slightly, losing some of its powerful melody for a more uncomfortable, almost schizophrenic sound.

To me though, Ascendancy will always hold a special place. The simple fact that they were doing something so radically different from the other Mass-Death bands at the time, really spoke to me, and I will continue to give them the respect they always deserved.