Fucked up again? (an interview with, ehm, myself)
So you say you fucked up again?
Why is that Erik?
My ignorance was shown once again and I think it's outrageous.
Well, now that is indeed very strongly expressed. Tell us, what happened?
Well, one night I was scrolling on facebook and came across a message from a band that was described as a Neoprog band with solid space rock edges. Then you know, I'm suddenly alert and interested. How could I have missed them so far?
Where do they come from?
England, and I've really never heard of them and I thought I knew pretty much everything.
A bit arrogant, don't you think?
Yes, I'm sorry actually, but I really thought........
The band is called Nth Ascension (I assume you pronounce that as Ninth) and has already made four albums.
(2011) Frequencies of Day and Night (there's not much to be found about this), (2014) Ascension of Kings, (2016) In Fini Initium and (2019) Stranger than Fiction and the core is formed by the Walker family, father (guitar) and two sons (rhythm section), and a great singer with a very characteristic voice (I love it), the keys are abundantly present with some mighty solos and the guitar work is fantastic with lovely drawn-out, melodic solos. Overall the playing is excellent and the skill level of these guys is right up there and, and, and....
Calm down, calm down do you have any more good news?
On the last three albums there are a lot of long tracks and some real epics too, with all the right trimmings, but also a number of superb instrumental tracks. In addition, there is a cohesive story that is told in multiple parts spread across all the albums. (Chronicles of Canaan parts 1 to 9) There is some heavy rocking (but no prog metal) but on the whole it is all very symphonic with great melodies and beautiful transitions.
What does it sound like, do you have any references?
Always dangerous but I hear things from a lot of bands that I really like and yet they have their own style but it is certainly bombastic, theatrical and so Arena, Marillion (Fish era), Pallas but also Pendragon (long guitar solos) should be mentioned. A touch of Hawkwind perhaps, and also Finnish band Overhead (without the flute) comes close.
Those aren't the least you mention there?
True, but that's how good I think this is. And what struck me is that none other than Eric Gillette mixed and mastered the last album and that is no joker you know. Now it is known that I am a bit more of a guitar man but the keyboards sound so full and overwhelming (just listen to Kingdom Keys), really beautiful. On the albums, Darrel Treece-Birch is the keyboardist, but he has since been replaced by Keith Shackleton. Sometimes the music slips in the direction of classic/hard rock but it always remains proggy.
Nothing to complain about at all?
Oh well, there's always something, but that shouldn't really ruin the overall feeling. There are a few songs that are a bit more straightforward and lack some depth and possibly go a bit towards Magnum's better work. (So, that was the Apocalypse) Obviously I prefer the prog side, but all three albums are very long so there's more than enough to enjoy. And yes, Michael Alan Taylor's voice is one you have to love because he's not a standard singer but I think he does a hell of a job. Sound-wise it all seems fine without really standing out, but I will only make that assessment after receiving the CDs.
You're quite fond of beautiful artwork, what's up with that?
The covers are made by Oliver Pengilley and very beautiful, especially the one of the debut album Ascension of Kings, and fit perfectly with the music of these Brits. So they really complement each other.
Of course I ordered the three CDs directly from the band and they are on their way so I have to be patient and then I can listen to them on my headphone set. Only then can I make a final judgement about the place this band will occupy in my list of favourite bands, but it is already certain that they will be included. I understand from the band that they are busy composing new music for the next album but it is not known when that will be released, certainly not in the short term. That's a shame, but you can't have everything, as we say.
So you're a happy man?
Yes, because unexpectedly discovering new music that appeals to you so much is always nice and then also three full albums in one go, that is really unique and has never happened to me as far as I know. Only now I have to be patient again and I'm soooo bad at that. Yes even as I get older, that remains a point of attention.
Addition 20-02-2024 :
Meanwhile I did receive the cd's, without custom clearance costs this time (!), and after listening to all three I can safely say that I love the music of this band and as can be seen in my introduction page they entered my top twenty of bands and that is not te be taken lightly my friends. Sorry, had to make this one.