Ancient Ascendant – Echoes and Cinder (Candlelight Records)

Wednesday, 9th April 2014
Rating: 8/10

One of the several young acts Candlelight are determined to help build (What’s that you say? A label trying to actually “build” bands? No way!), England’s Ancient Ascendant have the benefit of one Dan Swano in their corner, whose endorsement usually enticing enough for the casual listener to have a gander. The band’s sound – a take-off on the modern American melodic death metal approach – doesn’t take much to get warmed up to, probably because most of us Yankees have had it rammed down our throat since the 00’s. Then again, the various riff mutations and cunning melodies heard on the band’s Echoes and Cinder sophomore effort are enough to let bygones be bygones…

Operating with the understanding mid-tempo and groove-oriented songs are usually a bright idea, the band ushers in side-winding riff action on opener “Crones to the Flames,” as well as crisp acoustic guitars on “Patterns of Bane,” one of the best examples of AA’s well-patterned volleying between the extreme and the ready-for-banging. (Not that kind of banging, though. Sheesh.) Of important note should be the voluminous melodies heard on “Fueling the Flare,” which finds the go-between saccharine avenues and the full-blast of vintage Black Dahlia Murder, a band AA may find themselves compared to.

The vocals of Alex Butler prove to be the most over-familiarized aspect of Echoes and Cinder, employing a lot of the same cadences the aforementioned TBDM as well as Arsis do. Then again, there’s only so much one can do in the limited confines of snarled-growled-ville, so Butler makes the cut. And for a British band playing such an American-titled brand of melodic death metal, Ancient Ascendant prove themselves to be a valuable young commodity, who have all the right people in their corner…

Ancient Ascendant official site