By Bona Pjarren

Artwork for Ascent From The Mundane by Near Death ConditionSwiss bleak death metal band Near Death Condition return with their new album, ‘Ascent From The Mundane’, this fourth studio album being their first new music since 2014’s full-length ‘Evolving Towards Extinction’.

‘Witness Of The Martyr’ is straight to business with big drop tuned heavy guitar riffs powering through the song, augmented by the deep sonorous growls of Magnus. The bass and drums are tight in together to make for an impressive opening track.

‘Nothing From Naught’ follows and again blasts right into the track. With tight accurate guitar and bass riffs against a backdrop of Patrick’s programmed drums. Nothing From Naught exudes a bleak death metal soundscape that is hard to resist.

A quick drum role is about as close as this band has got so far to an intro as the band erupts into ‘Wisdom of Meaninglessness’. This track drives relentlessly forward with a wall of sound filled with hatred and malicious intent. I think that as good as this band are they would benefit from a real-life drummer rather than relying on the programmed drums. Don’t get me wrong, the programmed drums are good, but I feel a drummer would add another dimension to the songs.

‘Enlightenment’ adds a nice touch with a sombre key based intro that nicely sets up the next track entitled ‘The Bridal Chamber’, which is the single that was released. ‘The Bridal Chamber’ chugs along accentuated by Magnus’ strong vocals. There are some nice discordant interludes that help to give the song accessibility and break up the angry guitar trem picking. The slowing of the track towards the end really adds to the overall impact of its composition.

‘Astral Journey’ has a bit of a sludge metal feeling to it as it builds into a solid heavy groove before going ballistic. Soaring guitar solos just add to the feeling of intensity. It cleverly uses slower sections to highlight the bestial drive of the faster parts to good effect.

‘Ascent From The Mundane’ itself is a massive track at over eight minutes long. It has great slabs of heavy riffs that grind out the song leading to hauntingly eerie intensity. There is a bit of a Nile feeling to some of the guitar work, it has that creepy essence of unwholesomeness that Nile do so well. I have to say this is a very well-constructed soundscape of a song that will probably take a few listens to fully appreciate its complexity. I think this is my favourite track of the album so far with some fantastic atmospheric discordant sections.

‘And Then We Have Shined Above All’ gives a rather beautiful piano interlude and is a nice break from the full-on intensity of some of the previous tracks. ‘In Eternal Embrace’ is another ambient keyboard driven track. I like it but have to ask: did it need to be added on to the end of this album? It feels a little like Near Death Experience have over egged the album as a whole with the inclusion of this track in this position on the album. It is only a minor point: however, I must admit I was mentally prepared for another track along the lines of ‘Ascent…’ or ‘The Bridal Chamber’. There again, perhaps I’m just being greedy.

Overall, this is a great album. Okay, perhaps it doesn’t break any new ground as I have heard similar from other bands, namely Nile. But I don’t care! I liked it and felt it got stronger as the album went on. Well, that’s it from me, I’m off to give ‘Ascent Of The Mundane’ another listen.

  • ‘Ascent Of The Mundane’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

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