By Dr. Abner Mality

This onslaught of sludgy funeral doom metal is a real endurance test. I recall the first Coltsblood album being much the same, only not as finely honed as “Ascending”.  The PR sheet for the album makes it sound like the most torturous and depraved doom metal ever conceived. I would not go THAT far, but this is morose musical misery on a very punishing level.

With this kind of tuneage, long crawling songs are de rigeur. Well, we get three over ten minutes here, starting off with the snail’s pace dirge of “Ascending Into Shimmering Darkness”. The song is a throwback to the earliest days of Paradise Lost, sounding like “Gothic” material slowed down even further. There is definitely some melody here, though only of the most melancholy kind. There’s also a brief speed up to blasting speed which actually breaks things up nicely and prevents complete monotony. It’s a smart strategy which is repeated on “Mortal Wound” and “The Legend of Abhartach”. This latter song reminds me a lot of the classic debut by Winter with its miserable, fog-enshrouded riffing and corpse-like grumbling vocals.

Last two tracks “Ever Descending Circles” and “The Final Winter” continue the upbeat and cheerful attack. The former song again has that slowed down Paradise Lost/My Dying Bride feel while the latter is unbearably slow and monotonous, trudging on into infinity behind putrid mush-mouthed vocals. This last one was too much for me, but for those who like Thergothon and early Ahab, you’re welcome to it.

Coltsblood has improved their sound on “Ascending” while still delivering the most grueling and oozing funeral doom. By now, you already know if you want it or not.