ASCENDED DEAD - Arcane Malevolence (BLOOD HARVEST - 7"EP 2014)
I’ve been waiting for months for the new recording from US death worshippers, Ascended Dead, whose demo I was happy to receive couple of years ago. Finally Blood Harvest announced and unleashed upon the mankind this nice 7” piece of vinyl titled “Arcane Malevolence”! Yeah, this is great news for me, as I like this label a lot and obviously I enjoyed also the mentioned “Demo 2012” cassette, so a perfect match it is! And surely this EP doesn’t disappoint. It’s exactly as I hoped – a relentless, fierce, obscure, morbid death metal, played in the most uncompromising and harsh way one can desire.
These sounds are deeply rooted in the primeval death metal and all those classic, ancient bands such as Possessed, Mantas / Death, Necrovore, Morbid Angel, Nihilist, Sarcofago, Treblinka, Merciless, Sadistic Intent and even some early satanic thrash metal releases like “Show No Mercy” and “In the Sign of Evil” must have obviously had an impact on this music. And among the newer bands I especially need to mention Throneum and Repugnant, as two acts, which have a lot in common with Ascended Dead. These are all important influences, certainly the only rightful ones, but many will say that they’re nowadays just as common as Malaysian airplanes crushing (ha!). Yes, I agree that we have many bands, which pay the tribute to the old days and perform such music today, but the question is how many of them are really worthy? And is Ascended Dead among them? In my honest opinion, they certainly are. “Arcane Malevolence” may not be exactly on my top ten list of favourites yet, but I do enjoy this EP a lot and I think it’s just killer music. Ascended Dead performs it with passion and has this great ability to slay with every damn riff they came up with. More so, their music is irresistibly harsh and violent, with that necro aura and almost chaotic sound. Some may say it’s even too chaotic and hard to listen to, especially if we combine such ferocious style of playing with insanely raw production. Some riffs may be slightly unreadable, some sensitive listeners may also feel like each song sounds too much like another, but this is something I would not exaggerate much about, as each track has some significant parts, even melodies, like some absolutely killer riffs in “Emanation from Below” and “Blood Consecration”. So, yeah… maybe the production could have been slightly better, but as it is, it’s also powerful and obscure, so I have no complain on that, really.
“Arcane Malevolence” does sound a lot like some of the ancient demos or 80’s albums and that’s something I like a lot about it, especially as the band feels truly authentic about what they’re doing. Now I have to wait for their debut full length album, which I hope will come out soon.
Standout track: “Emanation from Below”
Final rate: 75/100