Friday 30 August 2019

Problem With Dragons - Ascendant (Album Review)

Release date: August 23rd 2019. Label: Self Released. Format: DD/Vinyl

Ascendant – Tracklisting

1.The Omicron 02:59
2.Moon Ritual 05:15
3.The Reptilian Eye 04:46
4.Too Terrified 01:31
5.Comply or Ignore 05:05
6.The Ascendant 05:42
7.Implant 03:56
8.Here's Condemnation 01:59
9.Apocalypse of Baruch 04:28
10.Faults De Massif 03:47


Whitman, Price, and Haddad


Problem With Dragons unexpectedly returned with their new album – Ascendant. It was a complete surprise for myself as I loved their 2015 debut album Starquake. I’ve heard rumours and rumblings over the years that a new album was being prepared but sadly had given up hope until they dropped this album without any PR or fanfare.

Ascendant sees Problem With Dragons carry on playing their modern sounding Sludge/Stoner Metal grooves with a twinge of Distorted vibes running throughout the album. The band carry on the “lost” style of Sludge/Stoner Metal that Baroness and Mastodon played back in the day before moving onto a more commercial style of sound.

Opening song – The Omicron – feels like a hidden message being played under a ton of heavy Sludge/Stoner riffage that gives you the perfect glimpse on what to expect on the album. The overall sound of this song and album is quite raw but allows Problem With Dragons to play their own style of music with elements of Punk vibes creeping through from time to time.

Second Song – Moon Ritual – has a more focused and jagged sound with the band focusing more on melody and telling an intruiging story with this song. The song is quite addictive and has a dark underbelly to it with some epic and flashy as hell guitar solos that can be quite demanding to listen to at times. The vocals are insanely good and show a wealth of creativity when the more “poppier” sounding vocals appear. It shouldn’t really work but the band deserve credit for this.

Third song – The Reptilian Eye – has a true Stoner Metal sound with flashes of Mastodon style Proggy guitars and vocals on certain parts of the song. Add a more “fantasy” feel to the lyrics with some hard hitting vibes and this allows the song to be one of the standout songs held on the album.

The opening 3 songs perfectly exemplify how the rest of the album plays out with the following songs – Comply Or Ignore, The Ascendant, Implant and Apocalypse Of Baruch being some of the most exciting and heaviest riffs on the album.

Ascendant is a deeply engaging and adventurous album with a richly creative narrative that you wouldn’t expect to hear on an album such as this. I’m hoping that the band will receive as much positive recognition they possibly can with this album. As it’s a brilliantly entertaining and must have album.

Words by Steve Howe

Ascendant is available to buy on DD now. Vinyl will be coming later this year directly from the band.