Italian symphonic black/death metal horde Graveworm are back with their latest platter for AFM Records, titled Ascending Hate, and they even have founding member/guitarist/songwriter "Stefan Unterpertinger once again in tow for what should be a reason to celebrate. For the most part it is; Ascending Hate brings together many of the elements that most of us have always loved about this band, the crushing riffs, the wide assortment of vocal styles, plenty of symphonic keyboards, atmosphere, and manic rhythms. Problem is, with classic albums like Engraved in Black and (N)utopia to their credit, the band have been trying to top those ever since and have consistently come up short. While Ascending Hate is a spirited affair, it again fails to reach the lofty heights of those two albums.
There are some fabulous tracks, such as the menacing, orchestral "To the Empire of Madness", the rampaging "Buried Alive", and the crushing, tremolo picked madness that is "Downfall of Heaven", complete with punishing death metal blast beats and a wealth of growls & screams. "Liars to the Lions" and "Son of Lies" sound like every other melodic death metal band out on the scene unfortunately, and that's where part of this album fails. The band really does better at the whole symphonic black metal thing with just a touch of melo-death, but when they go full bore into that style they become part of the scenery rather than stand out. "Nocturnal Hymns Part II (The Death Anthem)", the album closer, is a dramatic example of how good this band can be when they want to, as Stafano Fiori screams & growls to the heavens over massive riffing and haunting keyboards...it's a shame more of the album isn't up to these standards.
Not a bad album by any means, but also not quite a classic, Ascending Hate is no doubt a solid Graveworm release that longtime fans should enjoy, but newcomers to the band should first go back deeper into their catalog for the real rewards.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. The Death Heritage
2. Buried Alive
3. Blood, Torture and Death
4. To the Empire of Madness
5. Downfall of Heaven
7. Liars to the Lions
8. Rise Again
9. Son of Lies
10. Nocturnal Hymns II (The Death Anthem)