A melodic four-piece hailing from Melbourne, The Ascended takes influences from genres such as thrash, groove metal, and metalcore. With their latest release, “The Dark”, you can definitely see these influences come to bear, with the end result being a nice mix of Trivium and early Unearth.
“The Dark” starts out with “Blood of the Father”. Unfortunately, I think this is a pretty bland opener, with a cool little intro that builds up anticipation but leads into a pretty simple verse which I think makes the track lose all steam. The rest of the song is well done though, building up emotion with a melancholic fadeout at the end.
The title track is the best song on the album, in my opinion, bringing the best of The Ascended’s skills together. A very solid metalcore track, it utilizes melodic guitar leads, a catchy chorus, and a classic metalcore breakdown.
Both “Anima Mea” and “Embrace The Suffering” sound like they’re straight out of the mid-2000s, featuring the classic melodic metalcore style of riffs, similar song structures, and the breakdowns you’d expect from a band of that era.
“Strength In Numbers” continues with these themes, and features a tough outro that’s sure to make your headbang.
The next cab off the rank, “Hell And Back”, gives “The Dark” a little bit of a lighter mood, with the lyrics giving of an inspirational vibe, with a bit of a happier lead guitar line to go with it. This song is in a good spot on the album, as it helps break it up a little and add a bit of a different flavor.
One of the better songs on the album, “Shadow Walker” brings both a bit of speed and groove, with a chunky verse, a catchy chorus, and an even heavier breakdown. Personally, I think this will be one of the songs that will do really well live due to its good mix of heavy and poppy elements.
The next 2 songs, “Through It All” and “Impermanence” I feel are a bit lackluster, as they have the same sort of riffs and structure as quite a few of the other songs on “The Dark”. In isolation they are decent songs but going through the whole album I think it does drag a little when it comes to these tracks.
Finally, the closing track “Death Reigns From Above” takes a little bit of a darker tone than previous tracks. This is a good thing, as the faster, more aggressive riffs give “The Dark” closure, that the album has ended completely. It’s short, sharp, combative, and heavy, giving the listener a fond memory to look back on the album with.
If you like Trivium, Unearth’s earlier works, or the melodic metalcore bands of the mid-2000s, you’ll like this album.
The Ascended: Facebook
Release Year: 2021
Reviewed by Gerard May