Ancient Ascendant – ‘Echoes and Cinder’ (Candlelight)
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal
If you’re a fan of sweltering blackened thrash metal, Ancient Ascendantare for you. This album is definitely for you. Echoes and Cinder is extremely catchy and the production is tremendous. (Production by Dan Swano, of course it’s incredible). One of the most creative tracks on the album is “Patterns of Bane.” It’s not every day you hear acoustic guitars in a death metal song, and Ancient Ascendant without a doubt pull it off.
The tracks on this album tell a real story; almost every single one takes you on a ride through the waves of the mind. For fans of Hypocrisy, Enslaved and Skeletonwitch (only more creative) Echoes and Cinder is one of those albums with songs that’ll swiftly get into the blood and leave you wanting more.
Assassins – ‘War of Aggression’ (eOne/Good Fight)
eOne Music/Good Fight Entertainment
Genre: Metalcore/Post Hardcore
One of the greatest things about music is that it is malleable. It can be molded (or bent) into any shape by its originator(s). Such is the case with Detroit’s Assassins. Their debut album War of Aggression is a mix of metal and hardcore, with heaps of pop sensibility thrown in for good measure.
While Assassins don’t break any new musical ground, the band has released a solid effort. Though there are no real standout tracks, the record is extremely cohesive as a whole. Surely it will be well received by its intended demographic.
Barren Harvest – ‘Subtle Cruelties’ (Handmade Birds)
Handmade Birds Records
Jessica Way (Worm Ouroboros) and Lenny Smith (Atriarch) as Barren Harvest pair up for 11 tracks of forlorn folk/ambiance with Subtle Cruelties. Both musicians handle vocal duties, sometimes harmonizing in delicate fashion. The tenderness of the vocals extends to the wistful music, which forgoes percussion for synths and guitars. This is easy to get sucked into, for those wanting to be engulfed by quaint compositions and soulful whisperings.
The album is best experienced in one sitting, where the compact interludes fit in with the elegant, yet yearning, tunes. The excitement levels are low, but the dynamic moods thought up by the duo are perfect for a late-night listening session.