dB rating: 8/10
Release Date: January 27, 2017
Label: 20 Buck Spin
The Ominous Circle’s Appalling Ascension is frighteningly good. And from it, death metal’s timeless slumber is awakened. The mega-demon long bereft of new victims to devour whole, scare through to the soul, or force, by way of sound and spirit, disciples to worship fervently anew is real. Unholy and iniquitous time warps to and from the sum of the Ominous Circle’s influences—Sepultura’s Morbid Visions, Morbid Angel’s Altars of Madness, Immolation’s Dawn of Possession and Incantation’s Diabolical Conquest, to name a few—and comes out on all sides a monster perverse and minacious.
Granted, false prophets and snake oil soothsayers abound in our coveted multiverse. The Ominous Circle are not one of them. They understand, like Teitanblood, the depths of the genre’s malignant essence. They have transgressed, like Deathspell Omega, the genre’s immutable mores. And they, like Portal, have the power and edification to scrawl a new, hellish chapter. To wit, the Ominous Circle’s hymns have disquieting form. “From Endless Chasms,” “Poison Fumes,” “A Gray Outcast” and “To En” revel in chaos, perplexity and the unnatural. They writhe, bend and thrash, with words indecipherable emanating ritualistically, all paeans to burning embers and flesh-smog of Tophet. For Appalling Ascension is no magnification of the perceived or convinced. There are no smoke and mirrors on display. The Ricardo Oliveira production and Tore Stjerna’s mastering make no illusions to what Appalling Ascension isn’t. It is the buzz and caw of death. No less. The Ominous Circle, as Lusitanians few and far between, have called from the impenetrable dark a work of sublime distinction.
— Chris Dick