Kadinja - Ascendancy
Season Of Mist
Progressive/Technical Death Metal
10 songs (48' 13")
Release year: 2017
Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Andy

French progressive death group Kadinja's first release, building on a series of singles in the past few years, is ambitious and confident, a whirlwind of technical riffing that mixes in melodic influences and a surprisingly gentle vocal line even with hardcore-style screams mixed in. There is definitely an ultra-modern feel to the album, which comprises an electronic/riffing mix with hyper-fast soloing.

In terms of technical chops, Ascendancy succeeds brilliantly. Both drums and guitar work is steaming-hot and electronically mixed to be even faster and more broken-up than the band's fastest djent riffing can accomplish, in the way a trance song hits the breakdown before a chorus. But there's still some soul in the playing when the band leaves the mixer boards alone, especially in the luxurious smoothness of the Episteme songs. The vocals, mixed so as to fade vocalist Philippe Charny Dewandre's clean vocals in and out, also contain a mixture of hardcore shrieks, assertive near-rap vocals, and emo musings. Which may be off-putting to some, but while that's not my favorite vocal style, it does fit tightly with the instrumental side of things. The song structures are made somewhat confusing due to the unconventional beat of prog death, with some of the unusual turns reminiscent of the musical mazes of Extol songs, though the straightforward melodic combination of melody, death metal, and clean vocal breaks used by Soilwork can be faintly detected too.

Like a lot of technically-oriented death metal, though, sometimes the band leaves the listener panting in the dust trying to keep up with them, and occasionally wondering why he made the effort. Less-melodic pieces such as 'Til the Ground Disappears, a splurge of rhythm even less organized than usual, combine with the band's predilection for electronic mixes to make a messy, ungainly burst of sound that overwhelms the song. Perhaps the mix is at fault, too -- despite the focus on all the guitar brilliance (the second song, GLHF, gives light-fingered shredder Rick Graham a guest spot), everything is mixed pretty equally with a loud, brassy effect. When the band's willing to add a bit more variation to its instrumental mixture, such as on Seven (The Stick Figures), it's quite a relief, though it's few and far between.

Ascendancy is a promising debut LP with some good songs, though some of them left me cold, particularly on the more technical and less melodic pieces that felt complex for their own sake. Listeners to newer prog death metal bands such as Fallujah or AHTME might enjoy Ascendancy.

Bandcamp: https://kadinja.bandcamp.com/.

Killing Songs :
Episteme, Episteme Part II
Andy quoted 76 / 100
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