Henk : Ascendant is a new band and an interesting one. Not because they release a fantastic debut but also because they operate from an area that is not really known for its heavy metal bands, namely the United Arab Emirates. Three of the five members come from Syria and everyone knows of course what is going on over there. A number of songs from the band are therefore about what the members of the band have seen and experienced with their own eyes.
Musically the band is a kind of mix of Dream Theater and Megadeth with the necessary Arabic melodies incorporated in the tracks. Just listen to the very threatening 'Fog Of War'. Singer Youmni Abou Al Zahab sings like top vocalists such as Rob Halford and Ronnie James Dio. Guitarists Ashish Shetty and Alaa Abousaada know how to produce the necessary threatening riffs and fantastic solos on a solid foundation laid down by drummer Aram Kalousdian and bassist Puneet Sharma. The band also has a number of special guests on the album, including Lindsay Scoolcraft from Cradle Of Filth who sings along on 'Morning Light'.
On 'Land Of A Thousand Echoes' what is about the harsh journey that people make to flee to find a safe place elsewhere, the brothers Simon and Elias Abou Assali can be heard who made such a trip themselves. It gives the already catchy song just a bit more authenticity. 'False Illusion' is about the madness that feeds the war and that this ultimately leads nowhere. This is the shortest song of the album which still clocks around five minutes. The remaining songs all fluctuate between six and thirteen minutes, but it never becomes boring.
'Tears Of A Majesty' distinguishes itself from the other songs by the use of a death grunt. So every song has something special and the variety between the songs is big. What they all have in common is a huge quality and that on a debut album. The recordings of the album took place in Dubai while the record was being mastered in Sweden at Studio Fredman where more excellent sounding albums have come from, of course. That, too, the band has done well. The conclusion is that Pure Steel with Ascendant has brought a gem in the house that deserves to be heard by a large audience.