NTH Ascension -
In Fine Initium

(CD 2016, 76:55, Melodic Revolution Records ‎MRRCD 221)

The tracks:
  1- Kingdom Keys(15:18)
  2- End Of Days(11:23)
  3- So, That Was The Apocalypse(4:42)
  4- The Cage(17:06)
  5- In Search Of The Rider (Clanaan Pt IV)(7:47)
  6- Forever (Clanaan Pt V)(7:47)
  7- When The Rain Falls (Clanaan Pt VI)(3:51)

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Neo Prog... This is the term that is unleashed on this band/album. There are many bands that can identify with this side track of the enormous variations within the prog world. Bands like Marillion, Pallas, Pendragon, Arena can gather themselves in the Neo prog category. And I like many of them. But (there is always a but) not every band can be at the top of its alleged genre. When you overproduce or try too much to do your best it'll turn against you. Is this the case with this band?

The first notes pull you in a rollercoaster of power chords and big orchestrated massive prog! And it's great! The music of the long tracks is of high quality and can easily measure itself with the great names in (neo)prog. The first 2 tracks are epics and take nearly 27 minutes! When you emerge in them you'll be taken to all the superlatives of the genre. Guitar and keyboard solo's, instrumental breaks, piano cooldowns etc, etc. So, That Was The Apocalypse is a raw instrumental rock track that lets you hear the versatility of the musicians. And yes!, The Cage is another long 17+ minute track. And it again serves you with all the ingredients of a prog epos according to the unwritten guidelines of epicness.
The next 3 tracks are part 3,4 and 5 of the mysterious Clanaan series that started on the previous album Ascension Of Kings. It reminds me of the Chapters on the Saga albums. They continue in the fashion of the rest of the album: vast prog. A quiet moment, When The Rain Falls (Clanaan pt. VI), closes this nearly perfect example of Neo prog.
The down side of this record are the vocals done by Alan Taylor. They sound like Candlemass' Messiah Marcolin just had a bad visit with the dentist. I'm sorry, but they just don't fit and many times sound out of tune.
Neo prog fans should own this record and embrace NTH Ascension, but they really have to invite another singer. I heard Damian Wilson is looking for a band. ;)

*** Erik van Os (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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