Ascension – Far Beyond the Stars

Label: Spiritual Beast
Release Date: 21st March 2012
Genre(s): Power Metal
Download These: Heavenly, Moongate, Somewhere Back in Time
For Fans Of: Dragonforce, Iron Maiden
Our Score
9.0
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User Score:
2 votes
7.5

Ascension – Far Beyond the Stars

Having been in the pipeline for quite some time, there’s something of a sense of occasion surrounding the arrival of the debut album from Aberdeen’s premiere metal exports Ascension. Followers of the band will know that it seems like an eternity since it was reportedly completed, but as it turns out, they knew what they were doing all along, having recently inked a deal with Spiritual Beast Records. Helping their cause still further is the fact that with Far Beyond the Stars, they’ve crafted a debut album of almost unfathomable technical proficiency and a real sense of enjoyment.

It’s a record that roars from the starting blocks with lead single ‘Somewhere Back In Time” (video link below), which is an ideal summation of what’s to come: spectacularly over-the-top power metal, littered with vocal acrobatics from frontman Ricki Carnie, breakneck fretplay and machine-gun drumwork. Of course, none of these would make any impact on their own, and it’s the standard of song that pulls it together, most notably on the insanely infectious ‘Heavenly’, which seems designed to be listened to with both a fist in the air and a smile on your face. Another highlight is ‘Moongate’, a track longtime fans will be well acquainted with. Having originally appeared as the lead track on an early EP, it feels like it’s a song that’s finally realised its full potential, emerging here as a sprawling, eight-minute behemoth that seems to have become the anthem it’s always sounded like in the live arena.

A common thread amongst many power metal bands is a lack of proficiency when it comes to balladry, and although Ascension don’t sound especially comfortable in those shoes on ‘The Silver Tide’, it’s a more credible effort than many of their contemporaries tend to make, and doesn’t break their momentum too much before closer ‘The Avatar’ provides an epic finale in the truest sense of the word.

All in all, what Ascension have made in Far Beyond the Stars is an undeniable statement of intent. To their infinite credit, it sounds like it’s exactly the record they wanted to make, and whether you like it or not is entirely secondary. Of course, all the best albums are made on these terms, and this is one which resonates with authenticity, quality and potential.

 

‘Somewhere Back in Time’ video link

Ascension - Far Beyond the Stars, 7.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

Posted by Mitch | 07 Mar 2012 | Album Reviews, Reviews
  • Rawker

    I like this review, but could it be argued that they sound TOO MUCH like Dragonforce?

  • TrueMetal

    To their infinite credit, it sounds like it’s exactly the record they wanted to make Dragonforce