Review: Survivalist – Ascendance

Consisting of three tracks, Survivalist’s ‘Ascendance EP’ is a solid offering from this Wisconsin metalcore outfit. Justin Montemar’s takes the role of both singer and screamer on this record and he hits the mark well. His clean voice is prominent and pleasing to the ear while his harsh groans are deep and guttural, but not so much that they’re indecipherable. That’s a real positive edge for this band, especially in a genre where most screamers can’t be understood without studying the album closely and becoming well-acquainted with the vocalist’s style. As for the music, Survivalist fits its genre well and draws you in quick. The heavy riffing, extensive use of breakdowns, excellent melodies, occasional group chanting, and trade-off between clean and harsh vocals start this extended play off right. Honestly, one of the highlights of this first track are the lyrics, for Montemar’s performance is strong and heartfelt.  In fact, these qualities carry on throughout the entire EP, but Survivalist is no one trick pony. Each track has a distinctive feel to it. For example, ‘Faithfully Departed’ has a more somber character while ‘Trustfall’ is much more aggressive with heavier riffs and breakdowns, and the addition of even deeper snarls and growls that are on par with the likes of Atilla. Honestly, there isn’t much else to say on this one. It’s a solid three offering EP and a firm step in the right direction. However, with just three tracks running in at around 14 minutes this EP feels much too short. There’s no question that this is an excellent offering, but the tracks go so by quickly, especially when you’re jamming out. That’s not to say the songs are short by any means. Hell, ‘Trustfall’ clocks in around five minutes, so no complaints there. In fact, the shortness of the EP is only an issue because now I have to wait for more Survivalist. So, hurry it up guys, you’ve got a good thing going. Put the pedal to the metal on that full length! 9/10



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