Ancient Ascendant - Raise the Torch

June 18th 2017
(CD Album Review)


Raising the torch for British Metal

I have been a fan of Ancient Ascendant since their 2011 EP 'Into the Dark' I have followed them and championed them as rising stars in the UK underground Metal scene ever since. After 2014’s fantastic release 'Echo’s and Cinder' the band return with what looks to be their breakthrough album.

'Raise the Torch' see's the band inject a massive dose of melody into their songs. Granted... it was always there but it’s pretty apparent from the opening 'Reawakening' introduction track that this is going to be different experience from the darkness of 'Echo’s and Cinder'.

Things become even more apparent with the big chords and memorable hooks of opening track 'Our way' the band even jump into a bit of Death ‘N’ Roll on 'Scaling the Gods' with cow bell and hand claps in toll. The band have always had a Doom element to their sound and they have always made good use of throwing in a massive Sabbath riff when needed.

This shows a tipping of the cap to Cathedral who always knew when to switch of the seriousness and just have fun. 'Foreign Skies' start’s off mellow and moody before building up to a climax. 'Carnal' is a more typical track you would expect from Ancient Ascendant, this is brutal and melodic in equal measure and sticks in your memory ages after the initial hearing.

What 'Raise the Torch' reminds me of is Carcass' 'Heartwork', or even 'Swan Song' during some points. This shows the band maturing, expanding and refining their sound. They have grown as songwriters who are looking to the timeless rather than the current for influence. While was hearing Death Metal, Doom and hints of Black Metal on past releases.. I am hearing Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath on this.

I stress there hasn’t been a radicle change of sound on this record. Everything the band are known and loved for is still here they have merely brought to the forefront something that was previously lurking in the background and they sound more confident and at ease for doing so. In other words they pulled it off! Purists may have a thing or two to say but f**k them.

This is a fantastic record that reveals more with every listen and it’s exciting to see this brilliant band evolve with every release. 'Raise the Torch' may lose Ancient Ascendant a couple of fans but in abundance they will gain so many more.

Review by Joe Denby 

Check Out! the Video for 'Scaling the Gods' Below...