Deified - Ascension Review
Do you know what? It’s really nice to be flying the flag for my hometown, St Helens, on this website. I have been aware of Deified for a while now and I have had a chance to check them out live occasionally and I have always been impressed with the stuff and their live performances. Now that I’ve had a fair chance to assess their debut album, Ascension I can say that I am really happy with the end result. But who are they and what do they do exactly? Formed in 2014, they are a metal band with groove and metalcore attributes. They mix the styles fluently, with well executed riffs, bass grooves and vocals whilst also combining an infectious rhythm, in that early 2000’s grimy style, you know the kind. The band consists of Jamie Hughes (Vocals), Matt Pike (Lead Guitar), Alistair Blackhall (Rhythm Guitar), Tom Simm (Bass Guitar) and Stew Brown (Drums).
Ascension is a really well worked album. It’s brutally intense from start to finish and really doesn't let up at all. Deified don’t waste any time on the album, every single second is up to the brim with content and something happening, be that in the vocals or with the music. There’s no breathing room and if you’re not paying attention you may miss something and you more than likely will as the music has so many subtleties, just the odd touch here and there, that makes every song sound complete. Like I said the riffs are great, well composed and interestingly implemented. Everything fits around the tight rhythm, which is absolutely spot on. The riffs, the vocals and the groove is all worked around that rhythm which I have to give props to Stew Brown for. When the music is this tight it’s really hard not to enjoy as it really like everything just fits and every member is pulling their weight.
I've honestly had a ball with this album. Being the type of music fan I am, the moshing, air guitaring riff freak type. I love this album. It’s definitely something that would get you up and moving. All of the components are there and Deified arrange their music beautifully to create something that metal purists and casual fans could equally get into. Though there are no gut busting guitar solos (or showing off of any kind for that matter) the band do come together and every member is to be appreciated for what they bring to the table.
Something that I wouldn’t usually bring up in a review of an independent artist is the production quality. I feel like I have to here as there are just some niggley problems I have here and there. Whilst on the whole it feels pretty damn good, I just think if the bass was up a little, it would sound as tinny as it does. Which makes some of the songs feel flat. Also the drums sound a little off to me, I can’t put my finger on it but they could sound heavier…. or maybe I've been listening to too much Hatebreed and Black Stone Cherry recently and most drumming does sound crap by comparison, so I don’t necessarily hold this against Deified per se. Another small problem I had with the album is that some of the songs just blend together and can come and go without leaving all that much of an impact. Again I feel this is something they could have looked at in production as a simple rearrangement of the songs could have fixed that issue.
Overall, this is one damn solid record and one that I would recommend picking up. If you’re a fan of tight grooves and moshpit inducing beats, along with heavy vocals then this is definitely something you may want to consider listening to. They way everything on the album melds together is great. It’s amazing to hear a band this new bring something to the table that isn’t just a regurgitation of what we already have. It’s awesome to hear a band with this much ambition, songwriting technique and prencese coming from the local scene. Deified are one to look out for in 2016 and Ascension is the proof.
Words: Mick Birchall