Ancient Ascendant: Into The Dark

Epic Brit death metal mob hit their stride

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When someone as legendary and integral to the evolution of death metal as producer Dan Swanö excitedly sings your praises, you know you must be doing something right. Ancient Ascendant have always been a potent force but while the edgy grandeur of their earlier releases left a fair bit of room for improvement, Into The Dark is very much the ferocious finished article.

The pounding aggression and muscular melodies of last year’s The Grim Awakening album have been refined even further here, as showcased on violently dramatic opener Blood Calls and the incisive hooks and hellish dynamics of Driven By The Dark. Frontman Alex Butler’s commanding roar provides a compelling focal point on the more progressively hued Casting The Shroud Aside, with shades of early Opeth and even Dissection adding to a strong sense that this young British band have mastered many deathly trades.

Swanö, who has hailed Ancient Ascendant as one of the best of their kind ever to emerge from the UK, seals the deal with a darkly pulverising production job that perfectly suits the dynamic and fiercely intelligent nature of these magnificent, unwieldy slabs of virile heaviness.

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.