Guest Review: Bert Banana talks Ascended Dead’s Abhorrent manifestation


In which Toilet Tuesday Contributor Bert Banana discusses the mind-boiling horror of San Diego’s premiere death metal monstrosity, Ascended Dead.

Admittedly, when it comes to Death Metal, I haven’t done my due diligence in keeping up with what’s fresh. So you better believe that I had no idea who Ascended Dead was when I said “yes” to review the material. With that said, it’s safe to say that this weekend has been filled with regret. Regret of not keeping up, because this shit fucking rips so fucking hard.

Let’s start with the cover art. Here we are greeted by this very fine black and white cover with what appears to be a Sarlacc coming out of whatever nihilistic abyss it resides in. While it is a pretty straightforward cover, it leaves a question unanswered: why is the Sarlacc revealing itself? I don’t see any prey nearby. Perhaps it’s lonely. Maybe it just wants to howl at the moon. Whatever the reason may be, there is one thing clear – it’s terrifying. I imagine this is the type of creation that comes from a serious bout of sleep paralysis fuelled by a bad mushroom trip. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I think this is a case where you get a clear idea of what you’re getting yourself into.

Welcome to Michael Gross’s nightmare

This album wastes little time. While we’re greeted with some atmosphere building ambience for the first 45 seconds, this album just starts ripping and tearing in a similar manner as that Sarlacc to your sanity if you even encountered it in your dreams. For the first 4 songs, we’re blessed with an onslaught of blasts, buzzsaw guitars, grimy bass and nightmarish vocals. But, with all that brutality, comes an incredible amount of technical proficiency that’s right up there with the likes of Ulcerate or Blood Incantation. There is so much chaos just within the first 4 tracks, that it nearly borders on being overwhelming, but sweet void, is it ever exhilarating.

Which brings me to the 5th track, “Dormant Souls.” While there is much to be said about the rawness, the brutality and the technicality of what Ascended Dead brings to this album, this song shows just how well planned and executed this entire album is. The acoustic number brings a much-needed break and allows the listener to relax… even if it’s for only 3.5 mins before dragging them by their ankle down through a spiral of terror.

Much of what was said about the first half of the album can be said about the second half. Don’t take this as a bad thing, either. Some of the standout tracks come from the second half of the album (“Last Ritual” and “Fissure of Chaos come to mind”). Given how relentless this album is, the 37 min runtime is perfect, and it really helps that it is paced out nicely. “Inexorable Death” does a good job closing the album out by slowing it down and reining in some control before fading out. One thing to note is that this album is exhausting. After multiple listens while writing this, I’m ready to hit the sack.

Overall, this is a fantastic debut album. The track layout shows a lot of maturity and awareness of the material. The artwork is fantastic and incredibly relevant to the music. There are no pulled punches. This is a band that went all out and delivered the goods. I am very excited to see what Ascended Dead will bring to the future of death metal

Abhorrent Manifestation is out now on Invictus Productions. You can pick it up here. Go tell the guys thanks for the nightmare fuel on Facebook.

Many thanks to Bert for the guest review.

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  • Rain Poncho W.

    This record tickles my fancy in ways that may be considered highly questionable.

    • Guacamole Jim

      You could say it wets your whistle?

      • Rain Poncho W.

        Wet W’s Whistle

        • Guacamole Jim

          With willingness!

      • Sir Ukkometso The Based

        Moists your eggplant?

        • nbm02ss

          Sail at full mast?

        • Guacamole Jim

          Dampens your dong.

        • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

          Hey, you get to playing Westerlund’s new one?

          • Sir Ukkometso The Based

            I haz not yet. I completely forgot about it, infact. Guess I have failed. Hlw iz it?

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            I’m just one time through. I liked it, maybe not quite as much as Marshland. It’s similar, maybe a little more archaic though.

          • Sir Ukkometso The Based

            Well seems I have to chekkonen it out and see if i wanna order it on vinyl

        • GL

          OH MY

          • Sir Ukkometso The Based

            You want a mouthfull of my moist, throbbing, eggplant?

  • Ascendeded.

  • Señor Jefe El Rossover

    Good work here, Bertman.

    • Bert Banana

      Danke! Looking forward to writing more stuff

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Eh, guess I’m gonna give it another go. Everyone’s raving ’bout it, and I figured it was just a solid “good”
    Nice review though.

  • Guacamole Jim

    That cover art though.

  • RJA

    Bert Banana has really been coming strong as of late – good work buddy.

    • Bert Banana

      I really appreciate that. Thanks for the kind words

  • Óðinn

    Thanks, Bert Banana.

  • GL

    Love that friggin artwork. Damn!


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  • Waynecro

    Noice review, Bert Banana!

  • TheTransmuted

    Listened to this album in one go. Put down my headphones. Went to Dark Descent Records’ web store and purchased merch immediately. 1) Album is great; 2) This is a good review; 3) Dark Descent can do no wrong at this juncture.