Stygian Ascent – Memories (2013)
Review by Jude Felton
There’s definitely something in the water over in Sweden, when it comes to the music that comes out of this Scandinavian country. It seems that they just can’t help themselves. Enter Stygian Ascent, a band that up until a few days ago I had no idea existed. Mind you, there’s a good reason for that, with the fact that they have only been around for a couple of years, and this is their debut release.
Stygian Ascent play an incredibly infectious melodic death metal, which is infused with some death core elements and classic metal sensibilities, and in turn have created a quite wonderful album. It opens with an absolute assault, with The Darkest Part of Me, and pretty much never lets up throughout its 30 minute or so running time.
The music is full of pounding drums, great guitar work (these guys can sure conjure up a mean solo) and convincing vocals. They do lie heavily on the melodic side of death metal though, so if you’re into the more brutal side of the genre you might be put off. There are clean vocals in places, and soaring keyboard work, which helps layer the music, but above all the album contains very good songs. Very good, and catchy as fuck.
What really impressed the hell out of me, aside from the great tunes, is the fact that the three members of Stygian Ascent are all between the ages of 20 and 22. Holy shit on a stick; if they keep this up they will have one hell of a career.
The album closes with the 11 minute title track, and is a corker. If I was to find fault with this album though, it would be on this track where some of the clean vocals sounded a little out of place. Don’t get me wrong, Bill has a set of lungs on him and belts out the vocals, but it is the growled and screamed vocals where he excels, in my opinion.
So, that just leaves it for me to say that this is one hell of a release. Memories delivers in the heaviness department, delivers a ferocious assault and yet still manages to be as catchy as a 14th century plague. Stygian Ascent have the songwriting skills and have delivered a remarkably good album. If there’s any justice they will be huge.
1. The Darkest Part of Me
2. Northern Light
3. Hatred is my Right
4. The 23rd Psalm
Memories is available now on Digital Download and can be found here.