Nth Ascension - Ascension of Kings

Nth Ascension Ascension of Kings cover
Nth Ascension
Ascension of Kings
Sonic Vista Records
2014
6.5
Nth Ascension are a neo-prog band from Blackpool consisting of Alan “Spud” Taylor on vocals, Darrel Treece-Birch, who’s better known from his involvement with melodic rockers Ten, as well as Craig (Drums), Gavin (Bass) and Martin Walker (Guitars) (any chance of them being related?) they have been around for a few years, and this is their second album.
 
“Frequencies of Day and Night” their debut would greatly appeal to fans of Pallas, Arena and the like and this follow-up, does in fact offer more in pretty much the same vein. Taylor’s voice, takes a bit of getting used to, as he seems to be a bit too over the top at times, especially when he tries to sound epic, as he seems to be modulating a little uncontrollably.
 
The opening track “Fourth Kingdom” seems to be a prime example of that issue. The mix and production also, leave a bit to be desired, as they sound retro, but not entirely in a good way. There is nice headroom, but there’s also a tin-like, hollowness in the overall sound, that’s not complimenting the sound, while the guitars, sound rather lifeless and flat.
 
“Return of the King” is an interesting instrumental, that leads us to “Strange Dreams”, that has a latter day Asia appeal and while Taylor is nowhere near Wetton, he attempts to channel emotion in a similar way.
 
“Overture (Clanaan pt1)” is a lengthy and loose overture, with some nice, spacey keyboards, coming up with a nice ethereal melody.
 
“Realm with a Soul (Clanaan pt2)” is a rather short, also keyboard dominated, but calm and peaceful piece, sounding almost as if coming from the afterlife… serene and otherworldly.
 
“Seventh Rider (Clanaan pt3)” conceives a melody and keeps on replicating it, at first in a gleeful, blissful way but then more wildly and playfully, as apparently the “Apocalypse” is set in motion (?)
 
“Weight of the World” is somewhat different and a lot more guitar dominated, with calm, vocals that harken back to some of the great 70s Brit prog bands, of the Genre. A cool, jam like track, nothing like… the nearly nineteen minute long epic closer “Vision” then, that’s tense and claustrophobic at least until it's middle section. Based on “Biblical” imagery, it manages to combine the fantasy with the soundscapes, quite successfully, and the, agony in the vocals in some cases mingles rather well with the themes, along with a more generous use of reverbation on them that seems to covers most issues with those little discrepancies. Possibly the best track on the album and thankfully it’s 1/3 of its length! Lol!
 
Overall an interesting enough album, but nothing out of this world, worth checking out, if you’re into British prog, for sure.