Caronte: Ascension

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Caronte: Ascension
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Caronte: Ascension
Doom Metal, Stoner Metal
Lo-Fi Creatures
September 27th, 2012
Release length: 53:43
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Caronte is an Italian Doom meets Stoner Metal group that only formed back in 2011. Later that very year, the four-piece put out their debut EP, titled Ghost Owl. Roughly a year later, they returned to the studio to record Ascension, the first full-length effort for the band. Issued through Lo-Fi Creatures, the effort quickly became an underground success, even before it was released, but the group still remained hidden on the radar. But, does that mean this band is one that should stay thart way, or is Ascension an effort one simply must hear and own?

Ascension does have a bit of a lo-fi quality to it, but is far from a raw production. The guitars are pretty loud and carry a strong distortion, and the bass guitar itself is pretty loud in the mix, helping to keep the album grounded. The vocals are podded up pretty loud too, but can still end up in the background given the performance itself. There’a no real effort made to sound good either, often giving a nasal performance, or even coming off a bit like Danzig, but with additional vocal distortions used. The cymbals of the drum kit come through crisp and clear, though not quite as dominant as the sharp, tight snares, and the strong click of the bass kicks, both which stand out quite well amid the rest of the instruments.

There’s a good deal of early Doom Metal and Stoner Metal worship to be found throughout the fifty plus minutes, though sometimes more the latter than the first. Many of the songs carry a nostalgic, ritualistic trait, such as the very start of “Leviathan.” The grim, slower start is met with a heavily burdening environment that sends a chill through the air. Background shouting sounds like a voice against swirling wind, while additional lower throat singing harmonizations appear randomly during the track. This touch also appears on the closing song, “Navajo Calling,” and a few other places you might miss if not paying attention. All of this is layered over some slower, but really infectious music that is quite soothing, lulling you into a very relaxed state that you’ll want to enjoy your favorite vice with. Much of this also goes for “Horus Eye,” though it is a little faster, and a bit more energetic. The music itself isn’t too complex, though there are some guitar solos towards the end that really play up the Stoner Metal element of the album more than anything else, and the vocals do push a little more enthusiasm forward that sounds fantastic.

“Black Gold” is another song well worth checking out from this recording. The chorus features some melodic chords that play more as a background element despite the higher volume. The main riffs are simpler, but still pack a good deal of attitude with them. The atmosphere ends up more dismal and haunting, still breeding more of a unique experience against some of the slower performances that make up the album. Of course, there are some more upbeat elements that really stick out as well. “Ode to Lucifer” has a good deal of energy to it with some crushing riffs throughout that will have you banging your head right along. As you reach the end, however, the pace greatly slows down and becomes far less upbeat and fun. The atmosphere takes on more of a memorial setting, especially when the vocals become more sympathetic and depressed with lower tones and a softer presence.

Sadly, there’s just not that many songs that end up too upbeat, but, given the quality that Ascension brings with it, that’s far from a bad thing. Caronte have put together seven truly enchanting and engaging songs that are perfect for just kicking back and letting the music sweep you away. Sure, it won’t help you kick any bad habbits, and infact may have you starting new ones in the process of listening to this release time and again. But, if you’re looking for a good time, whether soothing or a little more upbeat and energetic, this effort offers more than enough in it’s roughly fifty minute length to keep every listener satisfied, while remembering what made this early style so important in the first place. If you haven’t heard Caronte yet, then now is the perfect time since Ascension is easily one of the most criminally overlooked albums to be released this year [2012], and is destined to be one of your all time favorite albums.

01. Leviathan – 8:07
02. Ode to Lucifer – 6:26
03. Sons of Thelema – 8:57
04. Horus Eye – 9:05
05. Black Gold – 8:02
06. Solstice of Blood – 5:51
07. Navajo Calling – 7:15
Initial Pressing Score: 10/10

Caronte (band)
Caronte

Physical review copy of this release provided by Lo-Fi Creatures.