Terminate is a band that I've been following since their first demo was released in 2011. The three-song collection showed a band that played like their influences (Dismember, Bolt Thrower, Grave, Asphyx, etc), but it also showed loads of potential for the group to become better as well. Last year they released the four-track EP "Thirst For the Obscene," which saw improvements in just about every department, from the vocals to the variation in songwriting. And, being the productive group that they are, Terminate is soon to release their debut album "Ascending to Red Heavens" which is an album almost as insane as the twisted artwork that graces the cover. The full-length also continues to see improvements and an evolution in sound for the Chicago natives, who have recorded four new songs to go with five of their best tracks from previous releases, giving metal heads another awesome death metal album from the US, placing them alongside other top-notch bands like Horrendous, Skeletal Remains, and Disma to name a few.
"Ascending to Red Heavens" is a combination of different styles in the death metal realm, as the earlier material (and a couple of the newer songs) cling to the more traditional "Swedeath" style with some heavy and violent riffage akin to Bolt Thrower and Asphyx in particular, while the newer songs see the band incorporate some different influences. The title track has some definite (Swedish) black metal influence, which comes mostly from John Porada's demented growls (which have improved considerably from the last recording), but also from the tremolo riffing, which brings a darker mystique to the music. "Iron Supremacy" is the heaviest song Terminate has recorded to date, as it crushes with heavy and thrashy riffs, piercing tremolo bursts and blasting drums that make for one hell of a headbanger. The band has clearly moved on from emulating their influences (though, they did that very well), to making some genuine death metal that stands out amongst a lot of generic clones who continue to drain the '90s sound of anything memorable.
The real key to this band's excellent sound, is in the songwriting. The riffs are simple, and the structures of the songs aren't exactly like a Manilla Road epic, but every song is effective in retaining a solid amount of "catchiness" that keeps the listener coming back wanting to hear more. Songs like "Numb" and "The Savage Silence" are composed of nothing more than heavy and thrashy riffs, evil shouts, pummeling drums and an all-around dark atmosphere, but are entirely memorable, and the album is full of songs that are good for multiple listens. "Ascending to Red Heavens" will definitely get Terminate some more (deserved) attention, as it is made of death metal that warrants attention, not generic perceptions of mediocrity. Luckily, the music speaks for itself and those who listen to it will know that these guys are the real deal.
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"The Savage Silence"
"Ascending to Red Heavens"
4.3/5 or 86%.