This is a competent and engrossing mix of old-school death and black metal. This sits somewhere between 90s Dismember and Dissection, with a bit of Amorphis thrown in for extra flavour. The band do their best to steal the meatiest, tastiest parts from all three.
Any given area of the album’s music can be either taken from its death or black metal influences, making the songs a satisfyingly bleak cocktail of both. Groovy riffs and atmospheric synths work together to create engaging and memorable songs.
A certain blackened atmosphere is combined with that of death metal’s macabre melodies. Blackened leads sit alongside muscular death metal distortion. Riffs and ideas that blur the line between both worlds are frequent occurrences, marking Unholy Ascensions as the kind of album you can really get into and enjoy.
I particularly like the growled vocals. Pure death metal in delivery, they anchor the songs deeper into the death metal side of things, while the music itself is a much closer merging of death and black. Screams appear too, adding an extra facet to the proceedings.
There’s a thoroughly old-school aura that pervades this entire release, and this is part of what lends this album its charms. Mixing death and black metal can all too often lead to something that lacks the vitality or strength of either parent style, but on Unholy Ascensions the balance is perfectly struck between the warring influences.
This should definitely appeal to fans of the 90s Scandinavian style of death/black metal that mixes aggression with atmosphere. Cemetery Winds’ debut album is so very satisfying and enjoyable that it deserves to be heard far and wide. Don’t let this one get away.