Ascension Of Kings is the 2nd album from North West UK Progressive Rock band Nth Ascension and the first to be released on the Sonic Vista Music label.
The debut album ‘Frequencies of Day and Night’ was recorded as a demo to test the waters and gain traction for prospective labels.
The album was made available as a free download on the aurovine platform http://nthascension.aurovine.com and was so successful that the band were signed by Sonic Vista Music after the album consistently made the top 10 in the aurovine charts. http://aurovine.com/charts
The band are a technically minded 5 piece featuring the flamboyant Michael Alan Taylor (known for his stage theatrics) on vocals, TEN keyboard wizard Darrel Treece-Birch, Martin Walker (Guitar), Gavin Walker (Bass) and Craig Walker (Drums)
In 2012 the band debuted the new extended piece VISION as a prelude to the new album Ascension of Kings at the Electric Garden Progressive Rock festival. The track provides the finale to an album of complex but eminently triumphant material that builds on the success of ‘Frequencies’.
The album seems to be something of a watershed for the band. They have moved on from an experimental framework into the realms of becoming serious about forging their own identity. My analogy for the ‘Ascension Of Kings’ album would be the progression Genesis made between ‘From Genesis to Revelation’ and ‘Trespass’. i.e not quite the finished article yet but a clear statement on where they are going and the sound that will become their trademark.
So what of the album then? AOK starts with a rocker ‘Fourth Kingdom’ venturing into ‘heavy’ territory but ending with a keyboard section that helps to tie the album together. Treece-Birch has contributed heavily to the writing and along with Martin Walker provides the lions share of the compositions. A satisfying start, but don’t be lulled into false sense of expectation. With ‘Return of the King’ some of the more complex time signatures are presented. It’s no secret that some members of the band moonlight as a Rush tribute and the complexity of those pieces have manifested into strong influences for some of the pieces here. A glorious guitar section closes the third track Strange Dreams.
Ultimately it is the two long pieces that define this album. The Clanaan Chronicles make up the centre section of the album and showcase both the writing and prowess of Treece-Birch. Made up of 3 parts – Overture, Realm With a Soul and Seventh Rider the piece builds with subtle textures and atmospheric eastern influenced passages.
Most of the tracks are built on the solid foundation of the tight rhythm section and Taylor’s vocals embellished by the guitar work of Walker (M) and Treece-Birch, but it is on Vision where this combination reaches new heights. The track has a pretty conventional opening section but on around 6:30 the tempo changes and the track really gets into gear. The closing section is a triumphant epilogue where all that is good about Nth Ascension comes together in one stunning climax.
This may not be the defining Nth Album but they are well on their way to establishing themselves as a real force in progressive rock music.
The album features custom artwork by Oliver Pengilley http://www.oliverpengilley.co.uk/About_Oliver.html and a 12pp booklet. The album is available to buy at ProgMegastore http://www.progmegastore.com/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=148
You can view a teaser for the album at the sonic vista website http://www.sonicvistamusic.co.uk/new-nth-ascension-album-ascension-kings/
The official Nth Ascension website is at http://www.nthascension.com