When a title like Ascenscion of Kings comes by, it is tempting to associate it with Lord of the Rings. Which would be fine, if we hadn’t been swamped in LotR for seven years. And luckily, the album of this title, by British Nth Ascenscion has nothing to do with it. Instead, there seem to be two stories about kings mixed in with the other tracks – one of them (Clanaan Pt1 – Pt3) in the form of a longer story that will continue on future albums.
The opening track Fourth Kingdom may give a wrong impression on first listen. It opens with a hard rock guitar and growling bass, suggesting that this is a heavy rock album. [acfw id=2]
However, once the melodic keyboards come in things change and become more symphonic – but the heavy touch stays and continues into the second track, Return of the King. A more complex track musically, with a great guitar and keyboard crecsendo at the end.
From there, the sound of the album is defined – well performed, layered keyboard melodies, good guitar work and an ever present pulsing of drum and bass – with frantic pieces of double bass drumming thrown in. However, the band does make sure that it is not just that: in Realm with a soul (Clanaan Pt2) there is room for an acoustic guitar and Weight of the World gradually builds up from a piano piece to a full blown rock track in a span of almost 7 minutes. Lots of room for variation there!
A separate note on the closing track Vision, which tells about the exit of the Jews from Egypt. For some reason, when listening and taking notes, I wrote down a few times that this could’ve been part of an Ayreon album – a great track.
All in all, a very enjoyable album, although the sound of the band is not completely unique amongst UK bands. The musicianship and the specific voice of Alan Taylor do give Nth Ascensions their own signature though.
Production wise the album made a good impression as well – no compression overdose, melody layers that were not even near becoming muddy and well recognisable individual instruments.
A great effort, with room for a bit more – I’d like to challenge the band into putting another step up on the next album.