After a four-year wait since their last album, the Austrian Black Metallers, SANGUIS have had a lot of time to hone their art. With a mix of aggressive and melodic yet keyboard-less Black Metal they're not a force to ignore, as "Ascension" proves once and for all.
Even though the majority of this album is fast and brutal, the band avoid the usual sinkholes of recycling riffs by including slower sections, which often creates a ominous cold atmosphere not unlike early IMMORTAL. Their infatuation with Abbath and company also shines through in their choice to cover “Unsilent Storms In The North Abyss”, but that doesn't mean that SANGUIS are copying the Norwegian masters of silly promo-pictures. The vocals are particularly interesting, being very harsh yet not incomprehensible, and in the Nietzsche-written “Unter Feinden” singer Umbra can also be heard cackling deviously. The drums feel a little overwrought and seem to live their own life, which doesn't mean the drumming is bad, just that some restraint wouldn't hurt at times. The guitarwork mostly follows the norm for this vein of Black Metal, but sometimes a pleasant diversion surfaces in the form of a solo or one of the aforementioned slow-sections.
For fans of Black Metal with melodic touches, "Ascension" is a very solid piece of work that does exactly what it says on the tin. Some of the fast parts are forgettable and soulless, but when the melody rears its ugly head SANGUIS are in their right element.
(Online September 12, 2008)