(by Antti Mikonmäki)
Ascension came to our awareness with their brilliant 2009-Demo “With Burning Tongues”, before completely proving their superior skills with their first full-length “Consolamentum”. Now, when the first reviews of their greatest masterpiece to date, “The Dead Of The World” begin to spread word of this band to those as well whom have missed the band in previous times, the time to show the Black Metal underground (filled with trendy clones of “Spiritual” and “Occult” nature) how true works of Art are done is at hand. We will skip the speculations regarding whom may possibly play in the band, and let the faceless aspect of Ascension speak for the band.
Greetings! How are your feelings now that “The Dead Of The World” begin to spread the plague of your message?
Good, for the greater part. It is always hard to let something go that you love and hate in equal amounts. Something dies inside of you every time but that is the path we have chosen and that is how its supposed to be, I guess.
f I remember correctly, Ascension was among the first Black Metal bands to appear to the public as anonymous, letting the music speak for itself. Now, years later, it seems that (besides “Religious” and “Esoteric” topics becoming an ever-increasing huge trend in Black Metal) there’s a huge amount of bands surfacing anonymous, and the whole idea has lost it’s atmosphere. Do you agree?
I don´t know, to be honest. I am not following the contemporary scene too much. But everyone has the right to do whatever they want. The initial idea of being anonymous was to give people the chance to focus on the music, lyrics and artwork, with us acting as mere shadows building the entity of Ascension. When taking peoples approach towards Ascension into account, I daresay that we have succeeded.
There are many opinions of the fundamental nature of Black Metal, ranging from Intolerance and Fascism to extreme Individualism and Anarchy. Do you see Black Metal as fundamentally Spiritual, or Religious even?
Yes, it is. The fundament of black metal has always been it´s spiritual, otherworldly and transcending approach. It is the music of the Devil.
Is Black Metal to you a form of Art soaring above basic Metal-mentalitites, or is this simply a “rocking” style of choice, favoured as the vessel with which to convey the Spiritual aspects of your psyches?
Taking into consideration what I said above, it is obviously more than another music genre to drink beer to. Black Metal deals with very powerful and dangerous entities. Entities that are everlasting and older than time.
The theme of the new album seems to be Death. Are you more (in this case) interest in the Alchemical Death of the feeble human Ego before rising from the ashes as a higher being, or in the total final Death ending the human Life?
The main topic of the new album is indeed Death, in many different aspects. „The Dead Of The World“ is an album about physical death as much as it is about spiritual death. It deals with a very sincere neglect of the mundane world in favour of the devotion towards our gods. Generally speaking, it is for people that consciously have chosen to turn away from god and the world in order to step into eternal darkness over the dead bodies of those left behind.
As you have been fascinated with Gnostic ideas (especially on “Consolamentum”), and as we have witnessed, the Black Metal community tends to make Satanic versions of just about every previously conceived Spiritual current, do you see any fundamental difference in the end results of the so-called Left Hand (so popular in todays Black Metal naturally) or the Right Hand Paths?
Yes, I do. But this is nothing I want to go into detail with in an interview. Let´s keep it this way: There are some lyric lines on the new album that deal quite obviously with the breaking of taboo or the violent tearing down of set moral standards. Maybe you will find your answer there.
The fans of your music had to wait four years for a follow-up to “Consolamentum”, an album which got many an individual highly interested in your Great Work. Although this waiting-period was not too long, I’m still interested in knowing what you did in between these albums? Does the music of Ascension usually form slowly, and get perfected with a lot of time?
After „Consolamentum“ we felt empty for a while. This is something quite natural for us. It takes time until new inspiration flows and gets to a point where it cannot be held back anymore. Furthermore we started playing live which changed a lot of things as well. On top of that, our approach towards our art is a very sincere one. We give us all the time we need in order to create something of importance and significance for us. That process is anything but easy, taking into consideration the mentalities of the band members. After four years however, we suceeded and „The Dead Of The World“ will be released on the 24th of December 2014 by WTC in Europe and on a license basis by Season Of Mist in North America.
Without revealing the actual members of the band, naturally, has the line-up(s) changed much after “Consolamentum”? Does the band today function in the studio as well as in the live-situation?
The line-up hasn´t changed since the founding in 2007. It goes without saying that the studio and the live line-up is exactly the same.
The new album features vocals by Mors Dalos Ra of Necros Christos as well as Magus Wampyr Daoloth of classic Necromantia. Also, the cover art is done by Erik of Watain. Do you have much contacts in the German (or global) music world, or do you prefer to keep your contacts to a quality minimum?
Let me correct you on one matter: The artwork was done by David Glomba, a very young and talented artist from whom we will hear a lot more in the future, I am sure. The layout was done by Trident Arts, yes.
I wouldn´t say that we have many contacts, it´s more that we choose quite carefully with whom we work or, in general, deal with. Mors Dalos Ra is a very important artist for us and a close friend. The Magus is part of one of the most interesting and best Black Metal bands ever. We are extremely honored to have both on the record exactly as we wanted it to be.
You have worked with World Terror Committee throughout your career. This cooperation seems to be a fruitful one?
Thank you very much for this short interview. Please share us some future plans of the band. Do you plan to play live much? How long do we have to wait for new musical material?
Ascension will head out for a European Tour for the first time ever from the 19th of February until the 1st of March, 2015 together with Bölzer, Vassafor and Dysangelium. Find the dates for the „Under Four Wings Of Death“ on our facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Ascension.Germany
Taking into consideration what i said above on how the band works, I cannot estimate how long it will take us to create anything new. Maybe Ascension will release something in 1 year, maybe never. For now, „The Dead Of The World“ is the epitome of our achievements and our beloved and hated child.
Thank you for the interview.