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The Ascended – The Dark Award winner

The Ascended
The Dark
by Ben Gardiner at 27 December 2021, 8:53 PM

THE ASCENDED are a mighty Metalcore group from Australia who pack a powerful punch in their second full length since the band’s conception in 2013, with the driving force of returning Metalcore to its once great state. Following on from a duo of EPs and the 2018 album, "Awaken Within, The Dark" is a refined, well-polished and wonderfully heavy Metalcore masterpiece. This riff-heavy and highly technical piece has been in the works for three years and the dedication shines in the finished product; from the excellent drumming and array of devilish riffs to the outstanding production, the future for Metalcore looks bright if this is the driving force behind bringing it back.

The blistering riff of “Blood of the Father” kicks off the album, soon joined by a very cool hi-hat and tom drum intro. I should say early on that the drums are my favourite thing from this record, perfectly executed killer beats that fit the music amazingly, great double bass beats and breakdowns throughout, seamless modulation, and a staggering production sound to cap it all off. We are introduced to the vocals with a roaring scream that kicks the song into overdrive. The mix of clean and screamed vocals feels very natural here, as Mat Wale executes both very well. The title track has some great bassy tones, aggression snakes its way through the tom breaks and down tuned guitar riffs. A delightful chugging breakdown leads us nicely into a frantic section of blast beats and hard-hit china cymbals. The energy and pacing in this section is infectious, a song that I’d love to see played live.

I’m a sucker for some ride bell action so “Anima Mea” pulled me in straight away with its accented bells cutting through the dense rhythms. Grandiose guitar work spliced in between heavy verses of deep riffs and great bass pedal work. The great energy is maintained all the way up to the final track, THE ASCENDED showing off some memorable and brilliant riffs, beats and general composition. “Death Reigns from Above” is a wonderful finale, thanks to those chugging guitar riffs and sudden stops. The song opens with sporadic blasts under an energetic guitar riff. The straight double bass work following a rolling fill is a great moment after the hearted beats. The breakdown is very short and very sweet, with a two bar straight build up followed by another great stop in all the music, such a simple and great way to keep up the energy.

The Dark is a well written, highly energetic, and consistently impressive release from Australian metallers THE ASCENDED. The album flies through its 40-minute runtime and only ever leaves you wanting more. The drumming is fantastic and always goes along with the riffs perfectly.  The influences, most obviously TRIVIUM, are clear whilst still sounding fresh and exciting, this is a shining light in the overflowing well of Metalcore.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Blood of the Father
2. The Dark
3. Anima Mea
4. Embrace the Suffering
5. Strength in Numbers
6. Hell and Back
7. Shadow Walker
8. Through It All
9. Impermanence
10. Death Reigns from Above
Braden Dawson - Bass
Beau Searle - Drums
Corey Verhaegh - Guitars
Mat Wale - Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Independent


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