Another review for an ‘older’ recording (two and a half years of age), short and to-the-point, yet surely worth being reviewed!...
If I am not mistaken, Kade Storm is the name of a multi-instrumentalist who was born in Sweden but who now lives and works in the U.K. (former member of the European Union). He started his self-named project at the beginning of this millennium, yet it took until 2014 before there was a first album, Beyond Blood & Ashes (which I am not trusted with, so I can’t compare the both of them). Then things turned into untouchable and intolerable silence once more, until now.
In almost two decades of existence, this isn’t but the second full-length album recorded by Kade Storm, called Ascension. It consists of three very lengthy tracks, all of them clocking more than twelve minutes (compared to the debut, it’s a difference, even though that first release did last for an hour as well). Both digital and physical versions come with ‘traditional’ yet darkening cover artwork in black and white (done by the very talented Dalila Belazi), fitting well to the aural content of the recording. The physical copies, by the way, being a jewel-case compact-disc, are released and distributed by Narcoleptica Productions, being made available some months after the initial digital self-release of the album.
Ascension starts with Wrath Of The Fallen, which is, with its duration of 12:19, the shortest straw out of three, followed by Cursed Invocation (14:25), and The Exiled Heretic, which last for almost seventeen minutes (16:40 actually). These compositions stand for quite darkened, oppressive Doom Metal with undeniable influences of Atmospheric Black Metal, and even hints of Doom-Death, Funeral Doom and Ambient Black Metal, as well as injections from Drone / Ambient. Yet then again, Kade Storm’s performance has a very own, characteristic sound and execution. When referring to the production, well, this material has a certain ‘mechanical’ sound, touching an industrial finesse somehow. I mean, I think that it is not that bizarre to have an open-minded comparison to, for example, Hoth or the first effort by Woods Of Belial. It does not mean, at all, that the result breathes a machinery-based approach, for the result has that elegant touch of organic sonority. Yet then again, the string-sound and drum patterns are veiled in a post-rhythmic nebula.
The tempo, as sort of mentioned before, is slow. And with slow, I mean truly doomed for the better part. That slow-paced speed works intoxicating, strengthening the mysterious, deeply eclectic atmosphere. At the very same time, once in a while the whole aural quest accelerates, with inclusion of a couple combative, merciless eruptions. These few blasting excerpts appear and reappear with a natural attitude; not like some assembly of uncoherent excerpts, yet providing quite an organic and well-balanced experimentalism. Enjoy the opening chapter of Cursed Invocation, with eerie bass-lines and sinister six-string finesse (introduction to a mighty sonic tsunami coming up soon afterwards), and you’ll get it.
The vocal timbre is a unique one too. Kade Storm does not come up with a blackish scream-like throat or some deep-growling grunt, yet with an almost mechanoid, even alienated and echoing timbre, which, if you allow me, gets closer to Lee Dorrian’s voice during Cathedral’s earliest years; yet then again, once more, with its specific own-faced way of ‘chanting’, being much more intense and expressive. Along with that rough, even morbid production, this works well in order to create such grim, heavy and onerous soundscapes. In the very same vein, the lyrical part of this total experience is of an unmatched excellence as well. The texts seek inspiration in the artist’s personal (I think, because of its unique conceptual result) opinions on subjects like the mystique and the spiritual, or on belief and the heretic / blasphemous opposite behind religion.
Other fine elements are the hypnotic leads and the mesmerizing keyboards. These leads, well, take Cursed Invocation, for example, in which these haunting guitar-lines produce an ethos so claustrophobic and narcotic indeed - not kidding! It more than just an addition on top of the unfamiliar and eccentric vocals and the monumental instrumentation. That monolithic wall of guitars (cf. the final sequence of Cursed Invocation, amongst several other examples) and voices, enriched by eldritch leads and high-qualitative soloing. I did also mention the use of synths, which have a double effect. At the one hand, they give that hint of bleakness at the background. Yet worth mentioning too are the leading fragments on keyboard, like the ambient outros of Wrath Of The Fallen or The Exiled Heretic.
Conclusion: Ascension is a harsh, quite stubborn experience, which asks the listener for endurance and perseverance. …and time to ‘comprehend’ and ‘value’ the result. Bit once you’re getting ‘through’ the whole concept for a couple of times, I’m sure you might appreciate the brightness that characterizes this triptych!