In 2011 The British progressive rock band Nth Ascension released their six track demo Frequencies Of Day And Night (see review). On this release I heard influences of bands such as Marillion (Fish- era), Grey Lady Down, Rush, IQ, Pallas and Arena. The only problem I had at the time were the rather weak vocal parts. At the time the band was looking for a record deal to release their second album that musically would be very powerful. I hoped the successor of their first release would be as good as their solid debut that appealed to many people who love neo-progressive rock. Furthermore I wrote if they succeed in improving the vocals, and they're able to record the follow-up in a professional studio, I'm sure the future will look bright for Nth Ascension. The question I asked myself was if this all happened on their second album Ascension Of Kings.
Well, right from the start when I heard the opening tune Fourth Kingdom I knew Martin Walker (guitars), Gavin Walker (bass), Craig Walker (drums and percussion), Alan Taylor (lead and backing vocals) and Darrel Treece Birch (keyboards) didn't let me down. When I heard more and more tracks I realised they had achieved to release a very strong and above all very professional sounding album. An album all members can be very proud of. The band and the people in the recording studio must have spent a lot of hours in the recording studio to get a top notch release which will be loved in the progressive rock community all the way, no doubt about that. The instruments can be heard crystal clear throughout the entire album. The compositions are all of a very high level and contain a lot of beautiful synthesizer and guitar parts. And what about the vocal parts, you might ask. Well, to be honest I really enjoyed them. Still sometimes sounding like Grey Lady Down's Martin Wilson but also sometimes moving into the direction of Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry. Music wise the album goes into the same direction as the band showed on their debut. Although I already mentioned that each and every track is of a very high level I can tell you that I certainly have some favourites which I like to share with you in my review. I am talking about the centre piece on this release. The in three parts divided epic piece Clanaan. Right from the start, with the atmospheric keyboard parts on the instrumental opener Overture, you are taken on a magical musical journey. A journey which is a delight to take because you are treated with some very delicate acoustic guitar parts but also the heavy guitar parts and up lifting bass parts sound like a real feast to your ears. Finally a special mention goes to the song that ends the album. Vision is again a wonderful epic in which an amazing guitar solo can be heard before once again atmospheric keyboard parts close the album.
Besides the perfect music on this release I also have to tell you about the excellent artwork. This is as stunning as the music. It gives you the idea that everything is connected with each other, telling you that you are dealing here with a sort of concept album about long forgotten kings and knights.
Ascension Of Kings is most of all highly recommended to those who name neo progressive rock as their favourite style of prog. Those who enjoy the music made by Marillion (Fish- era), Grey Lady Down, Pendragon, IQ, Pallas and Arena will find out that buying this strong release is well spent money! Just like in my review of their debut I can say once again, well done indeed!
****+ Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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