Ascended Dead prove that not all of the best metal comes from grim or frozen climates, hailing from the sunny city of San Diego in California. But the ugliness of their music belies that location with a vile and sickening death metal sound that goes somewhat back in time but remains relevant in today’s scene. Invictus are handling the European release of ‘Abhorrent Manifestation’, while Dark Descent are doing North America.
Opener ‘The Promised Land’ builds with an ominous guitar line; a dense rumbling is battered by a thundering percussive force while an unholy roar fills your ears. A maddening thrust slices through your consciousness, leaving Autopsy-esque carnage in ‘Perdition’s wake. The thick guitar tone is awesome, and the rabid ferocity that infuses Ascended Dead comes from the same dark places as Deicide and Morbid Angel. An avalanche of death metal cascades upon you, but it isn’t all heavy craziness.
The acoustic interlude in ‘Dormant Souls’ is a welcome respite, and the contrast with the more savage elements comes as a stark reminder that metal doesn’t need to strike hard at all times. Sometimes, where light and dark meet is where music can be truly effective. The ferocious ‘Subconscious Barbarity’ seems even more vicious after the acoustic parts, and it is probably my favourite track here.
‘Abhorrent Manifestation’ is a hellacious album of infected, rampant death metal that is simply stunning. Sickening riffs, mighty roars and drumming that’ll flatten you into mush. Ascended Dead have crawled from beyond the grave to punish us all for listening to death metal that isn’t as good as theirs. Which is most!