Djent’s been around long enough that the line between competence (see Ghost Iris) and excellence is razor thin. The number of truly worthwhile djent groups is not growing at the same rate as the swarm of djentlemen (and djuchesses) keeps coming out of their audiophile tricked-out home studios. Leave it to a French group, who know a thing or two about letting things naturally age and how to properly mix a variety of flavors. Kadinja’s debut full-length showcases a mighty tasty djent wine concoction, mixing Periphery’s playful style, with Monument’s melodic mastery, Erra’s hooky metalcore, and a bit of Vildhjarta’s delightful low end. Ascendancy is a mighty potent and satisfying musical red wine, deftly able to mine what makes the band’s influences work while maintaining a bit of its own take on the style along the way.
Most importantly, this album is a Hell of a lot of fun, and it’s a trait that too many tech bands totally forget about. What makes Periphery and Monuments so endearing is that, no matter how bonkers the underlying music is at any given point, each song has at least one riff, melody, or glorious solo that just instantly brings a smile to the face of every djentrified soul. This record is exceptionally bright, with soaring choruses and solos that feel straight out of the Misha Mansoor school. The technicality of the riffs and progressions is very tight, and while the record carries few actual surprises to those who have been attuned to the style, Kadinja abso-damn-lutely know their way around a song, making even the more rote and familiar feel exciting. Aside from a couple merely competent mid-album tunes, Ascendancy is a fantastic debut album from these Parisians and proves that even the more derided styles can be moving when performed with such excellence.