Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ascend-Amplefire Within

This record got my attention well before hearing it. First of, most of the SUNN side projects of late have been better than SUNN itself-Grave Temple and Burial Chamber Trio for example. Second, Iceburn? Come on, break out your victory cassingle. Post-Insight Mahavishnu rock? Ex-Iceburn/Insight back from the grave united with Ex-Engine Kid/Brothehood? An unholy reunion of Revelatin#34. Third Bubba DuPree on guitar. Void, Nuff said.
Bands who use puns and play with words usually suck so the amplifier/ample-fire title thing was a cause of concern, but what do Ascend bring to the table?
Pretty meandering riff rock with its own personality(which in the cookie cutter doom scene in a blessing) It flirts with rocking out, but never seals the deal-a lot rumbling Sunn action. Some vocals-kinda low and gruff. Divine pushes along with some trippy growling and then fades away. VOG starts off strong and gets your hopes up-even has some bagpipe droning away. It keeps it pushing forward in a sludgey Melvins/Sleep style and is more up my alley. VOG is also the track the features leads from both Bubba Dupree and Kim Thayill. The solos are pretty creepy and good. This may be the main reason to get this record. Dark Matter starts to swell into something heavy and interesting after a bout 6 minues with a horn and organ swell. (swelling horns and organs??? what am I thinking) Some half speed harmonized Iron Maiden guitars keep it moving.
There is a real split in the doom world between those who like it harsh (burning witch) and those that like it rumbling and droning (sunn, etc). I am in the harsh camp and if you can't be harsh you better groove at least as good as Sabbath, Sleep, or buzzoven. So for me this had some moments, but didn't really live up to the hype except for the crusher VOG.
Hope Penntemple is better.

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