Album: The Ascension
Released date: September 1st, 2016
Genre: Black/Death Metal
Label: Sepsis Records
Ilemauzar‘s “The Ascension” is by far one of the best black/death metal albums I’ve heard in this modern era where most bands under the said genre are more dedicated to releasing generic symphonic albums. Very rarely does a modern black metal release, with some thrown in death metal elements, in this era comes along and pummel my senses to the point where I am left with the incapacity to move because I used too much energy as I enjoyed headbanging while listening to the material. I could definitely see Ilemauzar do well for themselves on their next releases after I had indulged myself with this 2016 full-length material.
Think of the haunting melodies and epic soundscapes of Dissection and Sacramentum whisked with the killer sound and sheer fucking aggression of Belphegor and Behemoth. That, my friends, is what we get with Ilemauzar‘s debut studio offering “The Ascension“. While most bands under the black metal genre these days feed the idea of melody in their music, Ilemauzar assembled this album with intense emotion that the melody makes it even more of evocative. Classically influenced tremolo guitar riffs can be heard all over this recording and those leads and riffings, though not innovative and original, never grow stale or tiring to the ears. Guitar bridges found on every track in this material channels from the predominant theme of the track to something far more unconventional sounding.
Although we can easily establish and say that this release is catchy, we can still discern a little riff recycling in here. But it does not say that the band has lack of creativity because they are recycling riffs, as Asmodeus and Nivlek had perfectly placed these riffages in every precise part of the songs. I also dig the aggressive and furious drum section of this record that brings that death metal nature of the album into place. Maelstrom supplied this release with a strict death metal in nature drum part as he pummels and hammers his way throughout the tracks with frantic rendering. And what’s more amazing is that he does those drum pounding barrage without sounding groundless.
The drumming also helps a lot in commanding the change of pacing and giving a rush of speed on the softer sections, especially on the melodic and atmospheric part, of the record. Bloodcurse‘s raspy vocal delivery easily matches the power of the instruments in here and it suits the music of the band very well. The nature of his vocals has that classic black metal and raw black metal character in it. This also adds an extra layer of bestiality in their offering, as his vocal presentation conjures the highest form of irreverence and iniquity.
As we go further to the ascension of this unholy beast, we ascertain that the lyrics are filled with profane and dreadful subjects that scorns sanctified doctrines of the religious sheeps. The mixing and production of this material are stronger like the usual black metal releases recorded as studio albums these days, but it still has that very raw black metal feel into it which makes it not boring and makes the tracks interesting than they already are. I usually prefer a raw and primitive production when it comes to BM, but I dig how the glossy production of this record allows every aspect of the album to go together well. Song arrangement may be a bit simple and straightforward, but it is wisely fitted in, and that execution keeps the listeners’ attention throughout the whole playing time.
Now all in all, “The Ascension” may not be an offering that brings new innovation to the genre; but this is an album that does not just get your attention because of its beguiling cover art or gleaming modern packaging, as it also offers memorable melodic music with heavy and sheer devious nature. I could definitely see both black and death metal fans digging this release. If you are in anyway a fan of the mentioned genre above, you owe it to yourself to check this out. Ilemauzar had not only modeled their music ideally from the spirit of their respective extreme metal influences, but they had also shown both posers and elitists how modern melodic black metal with death metal behavior and aggressiveness is done properly.