The road out of Atlanta, Georgia, has been a rough one for modern metal quintet Pistols At Dawn. The death of founding guitarist Mike Buffa put the band on hold, but they’re back, and with the best possible tribute; Ascension. Loaded with eight explosive tracks, this album finds the band throwing their weight around, and making their presence felt from the first bars of opener ‘Under The Surface’. Sounding far bigger than their constituent parts, they collectively stomp in the manner of a 900lb grizzly (with a sore head) as the drums and bass combine to deliver each beat like a punch to the solar plexus. The vocals veer between clean and gruff, and sometimes double-tracked, but they’re always in your face, while the guitar, not to be outdone, delivers some serious riffage. All this adds up to a full-on sonic assault yet, no matter how heavy things get, there’s a strong focus on song structure and melody which renders the ballast of tracks such as ‘Gravity’ strangely memorable. Ascension is the sound of a band firing in unison and honing their aggression into a fine laser beam, and final cut ‘Dictator’ melds classic and nu-metal in a perfect storm to ensure Pistols At Dawn won’t be forgotten in a hurry.