Ancient Ascendant - Echoes And Cinder

I first came across Ancient Ascendant when they released their "Into The Light" EP I was drawn to it's brilliant artwork and was spellbound when I heard what they were doing. They played death metal in a pretty traditional way yet they wern't living in the past they were pushing things forward but even more to the point was how unique they sounded. Of course there are nods to Morbid Angel and the like but still there is something about Ancient Ascendant that sets them apart from the current crop of new British bands. With one full length album and a couple of EP'S under their belt the band have now unleashed "Echos And Cinder".

"Echos And Cinder" sees the band at their most confident. Unlike most modern albums it's not a blast beat fest infact the majority of this album is mid paced and groove orientated. There's an under laying darkness aswell. Vocalist Alex Butler sounds a little like Tomas Lindberg (the "Slaughter Of The Soul" album in particular) there are also little hints of black metal that pop here and there too. 'Patterns Of Bane' comes across as "Heartwork" era Carcass with some brilliant Maiden-esque leads and some great acoustic interludes. 'Embers' is one of the best instrumentals I can recall in recent years. It's more then mere filler it stands as it's own song and could actually fit on a movie soundtrack. 'Riders' is a classic sounding song with a thrash verse leading to a groove lead chorus with Alex evil snarl on top. The last 45 seconds of 'To Break The Binds' Tony Iommi himself would have been proud to have wrote.

What's great about "Echos And Cinder" is that, like all great records it outshines tags and subgenre confinments. All death metal's and black metal's aside it's simply a great metal album. What's great also is that it shows the transition of when a "pretty cool" band become a great band. It's not a masterpiece, that's yet to come but knowing the best is yet to come makes this release all the more exciting. "Echos And Cinder" may not be Ancient Ascendant's "Master Of Puppets", but it is their "Ride The Lightning"!!

1. Crones To The Flames
2. Patterns Of Bane
3. Riders
4. Fueling The Flare
5. Embers
6. To Break The Binds
7. The Toll Of mourning
8. Caged In The Tunnels Of Time