In July of 2020 the Danish band Ascendency released a debut EP named Birth of an Eternal Empire. It chronicled the rise to power of a despotic tyrant and was announced as “the first of a trilogy of short releases, with a continuous conceptual narrative, about the thirst for power and hegemony and the ultimate betrayal of ego and arrogance”.
That EP made a striking impression as a hybrid of death and black metal that featured skull-busting grooves, white-hot riffing, crazed leads, demonic vocals, and yet the capacity to create eerie and unsettling atmospherics from the other side of the veil rent by the music’s violence.
Now Ascendency are returning with another EP in the promised sequence. This one, A Manifest of Imperious Destiny, will be co-released on July 14th by none other than Me Saco Un Ojo Records and Dark Descent Records, on 12″ vinyl and CD formats, respectively, and today we have the privilege of revealing one of the four new tracks: “Victory – in all its Ephemeral Glory“.
A few things become immediately apparent from this new song. First, it is undeniably malign and fierce, propelled by thunderous rhythms and voiced by terrorizing screams that seem to reverberate off torture-chamber walls. But the ring of the rapidly vibrating riffage is intensely dire and distraught in its moods and piercing in its tones, like quivering needles working into the flesh.
Slashing chords brazenly cut through those frenzies of desperation, and swirling melodic lines slowly slither through them, deepening the feeling of pain and emotional desolation. But the frenzies also mount in power — the music soars high above obliterating percussive tornadoes and sears like fire. And the guitars also brilliantly ring like chimes of punishing grief, and wail like massed mourners.
Near the end, the drums vanish, the bass murmurs, and brittle notes reverberate from within ambient mists — an unexpectedly poignant finale to a song that was wholly harrowing and electrifying until the end.
It’s quite evident from just this one song that in the space between the first EP and this new one Ascendency have both sharpened their knives and also sharpened the songwriting, creating music of more facets than you might be expecting, music that moves the emotions as well as races the blood.
There’s one other song from this new EP that’s now out in the world, one named “Domitor Invictus“. It reinforces the impressions we’ve just tried to express. It’s even more overpowering in the intensity of its savagery, like a sweeping sonic conflagration of layered guitars and vitriolic vocal tirades that ignites everything before it, and even sets the sky on fire, while the drums spit bullets and the bass undulates like a subterranean upheaval.
But here too, Ascendency have a way with melody, creating intense moods draped in emotional darkness while they scorch the landscape on a breathtaking scale. The music is moving, even to the point of heartbreak, in addition to being an exhilarating firestorm.
Just these two songs make a tremendously powerful impression, like torches marking an irrepressible advance by Ascendency — and don’t forget, there are two more songs yet to come.
Check the links below for more info and pre-order opportunities.