In 2012 I reviewed two albums recorded by the British singer, guitarist and keyboardist Tim Hunter. For The Pathway Of Light and The Aura (2011/2012, see combined review) he created music strongly related to the albums recorded by Mike & The Mechanics, but occasionally traces of Pink Floyd could be noticed as well. However, on The Pathway Of Light he appeared to be a talented writer of pop tunes, but on The Aura it was clear that Tim Hunter could also write true progressive rock tunes. In my review I wrote: if he continues to record music the way he did on The Aura, he might become an interesting musician for prog lovers, but if he abides by the kind of music on The Pathway Of Light, I see no future for him in the prog scene.
One year later Mr. Hunter managed to come up with the new album Ascension. It features six tracks that were already written in 2010, namely Slaughtered On The Altar Of Rock 'n' Roll, Galactic Discotheque, Empty World, Gateway Of Reality, Fly Above The Storm and Pilgrim Of Infinity. However, these tracks didn't make it to the aforementioned albums. Furthermore the new album contains five newly written songs: Year Of Change, The Resting Tree, Heathen Believers, Lord Of Illusion and the title track. An old piece called The Right Wavelength, which was written in the eighties, completes this album. This time Tim Hunter is assisted on a couple of tracks by Gareth John (drums, bass, synthesizer) and Rob Corner (saxophone).
I was curious to find out which musical direction Hunter had chosen for his new record. Would he continue with the more progressive rock style of The Aura or return to the pop-like sound of The Pathway Of Light? Well, the opening tune of the album sounds promising, but after a while it changes into a more commercial sound similar to his first album. Unfortunately the remaining tracks on Ascension contain a similar sound. The songs are rather easy to listen to and the use of a simple sounding drum computer makes sure that devotees of progressive rock won't find much musical satisfaction with these twelve tracks. Occasionally a nice guitar solo can be heard like the one on Slaughtered On The Altar Of Rock 'n' Roll, or a fine synthesizer solo on Year Of Change, but that's just not enough to satisfy prog heads.
It's a pity that Tim Hunter has chosen for a musical style that readers of our website don't like that much! Music wise the entire album has just too little to offer. The compositions are not good enough to give the album a positive rating. Only time will tell if Tim Hunter will manage to make me happy with his next efforts. With this one he didn't!
** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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