In Passing Ascension is an ode to the terrifying unhumanity of life, of the howling of the void, of the vast emptiness behind the veil of existence and of power of the infinite that looms above all of us. Sometimes technical, always strange, and coming from a diverse source of influences that intertwine gorgeously, Suffering Hour have created a sound that’s all their own. The band self describes their influences as ranging from Dead Congregation to The Chasm and Mgla, and you can really hear the sheer amount of things going into the album. With blistering leads soaring above slower sections of atmospheric dissonance, with each warped section providing not only a unique and memorable flavor but a fantastic listening experience for those lucky enough to have stumbled into the album, the music ebbs and flows through the forty minute duration of the album, never losing any of the power that In Passing Ascension immediately starts with.
The band refer to themselves as “cosmic blackened death metal” and that description makes sense even from the very beginning of the album. In Passing Ascension opens with a mixture of the various types of riffing and atmospheres that make up the release before launching into the album proper. Swirling and layered guitarwork, relentless drumming, and varied vocal styles showcase the band’s songwriting and technical ability, while frequent tempo changes keep any one song from becoming monotonous. Shifts in direction from ripping death metal to slower sections of slowly scraped eerie chords a la some of the more dissonant modern black metal bands keep the pace of the album from ever getting too familiar; intense attention is required to absorb the nuances of the music, lest the listener lose pace and get lost in the chasm that Suffering Hour creates with their music.
Moving past the songwriting, it’s important to note how great the production is; mastered by Resonance Sound Studio, the album is dynamic, massive, and clear without ever feeling overly clean, and each instrument is given its own space to breath and exist in a way that often gets lost with this sort of material. Guitar, drum, and bass tones are on point, as is the mixing of the drums (often a tough point for extreme metal bands).
This release has impressed me on every level, and I eagerly await my copy of it getting here on wax. I’ve been excited for this to come out since the first singles put out by Blood Harvest Records, and the album doesn’t disappoint.