Ascension Theory - Answers
You know, getting writer's block right before writing a review is not a good thing. And then being a perfectionist on top of that does not help things either. So with those two things in play tonight, I've started and deleted this entire review four times already. It's tempting to just wait until tomorrow night to get back on writing some reviews, but seeing as how I have about 12 albums waiting behind this one to get reviewed, I don't have much choice but to finish this tonight. So Ascension Theory and Nightmare Records, you might want to cross your fingers this time around.
Speaking of Ascension Theory, this is their second album that has been released on Nightmare Records. Musically, they land nicely in the progressive metal genre. Fans of Dream Theater, Shadow Gallery, Balance of Power, and similar bands might find something to like here. One thing that took me a while to get used to was Leon Ozug's vocals. I really didn't care for them at all on first listen. Then seemed kinda bland and boring, to put it bluntly. But upon multiple listens I've warmed to his style. He has a very powerful and passionate voice, but often sings in a laid back style. But when he needs to belt it, he seems to have no problem cutting loose. The band also utilizes some female vocals on this concept album, somewhat similar to what Shadow Gallery did on Tyranny and Room V. I'm not 100% sure I like how well this was pulled off though. And guest vocalist, Mike Miseno, lends some sounds on the song "End Game" that are very reminiscent of Into Eternity's clean vocals. Musically, the band is tight and the sound is full. They incorporate solid, crunchy guitars, blazing solos, plenty of keyboards (but not too many), and a forceful bass and drumming backbone. I wouldn't say that they really stand out too much in the sea that is progressive metal, but they certainly don't embarrass themselves.
I don't know...I've heard much better progressive metal...even this last week. But Ascension Theory isn't half bad. They have some really good shining moments like in the songs "Perfect Plan", "Saturn's Reign", "End Game", and the beautiful ballad "To Be Content". But there are also some songs that just seem to be missing something, like "The Way of Death" and "Decisions". It all averages out on the positive side for sure though.
Review By: Matt Morrow
Label: Nightmare Records
Total Songs: 10
Total Time: 46:01
Tracklisting: 1. Passion of My Heart, 2. Lockstep, 3. Perfect Plan, 4. Saturn's Reign, 5. To Be Content, 6. The Way of Death, 7. Decisions, 8. End Game, 9. Refractions, 10. Answers.
Best Songs: Tracks 3, 4, & 8.
Band Lineup: Leon Ozug - Vocals/Guitar/Bass, Tim Becker - Keyboards, Chad Lenig - Drums.
Band Website: http://www.ascensiontheory.com