It’s fitting that San Diego’s Ascended Dead released their debut full-length during the Christian season of Lent, which celebrates the most famous story of the risen and ascended dead. Believe the tale or not, it’s a nice coincidence, though it’s really and totally unrelated to the sheer and utter glorious chaos that inhabits Abhorrent Manifestation (I’m sure that’s what atheists call religion…). Taking the sonic and spastic insanity of Immolation and Incantation and injecting it with a strong dose of cavernous war metal, Ascended Dead’s style is an unholy mixture of speed, technicality, and the desire to inject as many riffs per minute as inhumanely possible. The songs feel like speeding, runaway trains flying by at ungodly speeds, though instead of feeling disorienting, the band’s technical skill and savagery translates to thrilling tunes that necessitate further spins to unravel.
Interestingly, Ascended Dead’s style is a bit more straightforward and singular in focus than the band’s influences, though it’s certainly chaotic. Instead of complex arrangements and slithery riff patterns, Ascended Dead take the extremes of extreme technical death metal and choose to bludgeon the listener at all times and at all costs. The only breaks are the solid solos and the nice mid-album acoustic interlude, “Dormant Souls”, which works much better than those normally do. The biggest complaint is rather obvious from the first thirty seconds of the retro-fitted production and furious speed: the insanity is a bit much to take in and individual tracks don’t quite stand out. It’s a minor issue that is alleviated by further listens, and, really, by the time you have spun Abhorrent Manifestation once, you’re likely hooked by the gleeful manic bedlam that these San Diegans (San Diegites?) are so well-equipped to deliver. The fact that this is just a debut spells a promising future for these newly arisen undead gentlemen.