Gurthang – Ascension (Review)

Gurthang - AscensionGurthang are a Polish black metal band and this is their sixth album.

Ascension contains 57 minutes of textured black metal modelled on the second wave, but mixed with some more modern influences and enhanced with doom elements in places.

The songs are lengthy, but use their time wisely. The guitars are sharp and the melodies compelling. Gurthang know how to make the most of a decent rhythm, and put these to good use in the songs. Keyboards are used to provide a further layer of mournful atmosphere; these are relatively subtle and tastefully done, and seem to merge with the music so that their presence is felt even when you don’t directly pay attention to them.

There is savagery here in some of the aggression, but overall the band are more interested in providing atmosphere and depth through considered use of black metal to craft darkly engaging soundscapes. Atmospheric and dark, the music is satisfying and enjoyable, providing the listener with more than enough substance to get their teeth into.

The songwriting is good, and in some places very good; there are more than a few parts spread out across this album that cause you to sit up and take notice. Gurthang seem to have a good feel for dynamics and for how to appropriately channel blackened energy. When they lock into moments like these, usually in concert with a particularly pleasing vocal delivery, they’re on fire.

Ascension is an enjoyable slab of blackened worship, one which I recommend you check out if you favour bands that combine atmosphere and razor-sharp delivery.

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