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Reaching New Heights - 87%

Tanuki, December 15th, 2016

Progressive thrash metal inspired by science and space leads many to contemplate the fecund loins of Voivod or Vektor, but horizons have been steadily broadening since the release of Black Future. Now there are bands all over the world playing 'Carl Sagan' metal, and you're looking at a damn fine example: Teleport's latest release Ascendance. I've been keeping tabs on these guys ever since I heard 'Digestive Pit' from their second demo Galactic Usurper. The potential was certainly there and thus I deemed it a nice bag of chips to snack on during the long wait between Outer Isolation and Terminal Redux.

The areas where Teleport have always excelled, but particularly here in Ascendance, are creativity and depth. Tracks are stuffed to the point of bursting with embellishments and innovative riffs that command the listeners' attention and even get inside their head. 'Artificial Divination' exemplifies this, boasting technical embellishments together with a surprising level of atmosphere for an EP. There's this feeling of uncertainty and haunting desolation, which only get more unnerving as you travel through the tracks. The EP is concluded by 'Path to Omniscience' fading out into the identical vacuous sound 'Nihility' began with, which is a great touch.

Though this EP should not be without criticism. I suspect Jan Medved's vocals will be a deciding factor in your overall enjoyment of these tracks, as his array of hoary rasps and screams are enhanced with a cathedralic amount of reverb. This will either add to the atmosphere or become distracting. I feel this effect was necessary either way, as Medved's vocals have always been a bit predictable ever since Galactic Usurper. Ascendance also asks a lot of its new drummer Darian Kocmur. All tracks are long and feature sudden shifts in tempo and unrelenting strings of blastbeats, and Kocmur can be sloppy and lag behind during these segments. Finally, an utterly dominated bass guitar has always been a sore spot with Teleport, and here it's about as audible as I am at any social event.

But the meat and most of the potatoes of an excellent sample of progressive thrash are all here and accounted for: ghostly guitar harmonics, tumultuous riffs, and a phantasmal vocalist. Teleport proved themselves competent with Galactic Usurper, Stellar Damnation was even better, and Ascendance is their best yet, making it a must-listen for any fans of technical thrash. Keep an eye out for Teleport - I think they're going places.

Standout tracks:
Artificial Divination, Realm of Solar Darkness

Related listening:
Obliterated - The Dreadful Meaning of Being
Obliveon - From This Day Forward