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Nth Ascension - In Fine Initium CD (album) cover

IN FINE INITIUM

Nth Ascension

 

Neo-Prog

3.85 | 28 ratings

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Windhawk
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars UK band NTH ASCENSION was formed in 2009, originally using the moniker Nth Degree, and solidified as a band unit in 2010. An initial demo was released in 2011, and in 2014 they signed to UK label Sonic Vista for the release of their official debut album "Ascension of Kings". In 2016 they left their former label to sign up for US label Melodic Revolution Records, who released their sophomore production "In Fine Initium".

Nth Ascension is very much an English band, exploring landscapes and sounds that were invented and developed on the British Isles. Melodic, powerful progressive rock is the name of the game here, and then by and large explored inside a neo progressive general context. Their take on the genre is one that relies heavily on alternating, contrasting arrangements and a striking lead vocalist further enhancing the dramatic aspects of the compositions. It's also a take on this style that has something of a steely edge to it at times, unlike the more pop/rock oriented artists you'll also encounter inside this general sphere of reference. For some distinct similarities, I suspect the sound explored by later day Pendragon is a fairly good comparison.

Majestic, powerful passages sporting firm guitar riffs and one or more layers of keyboards is the staple for the harder edged passages in these compositions, at times in arrangements with stronger similarities to AOR style hard rock, at other times, especially when the keyboard is less prominent, comparisons can be made toward Canadian powerhouse trio Rush as well. And on a few occasions the sheer intensity of those more powerful passages close in on the gentler side of classic progressive metal if not in scope then at least in a sound that is rich, powerful and striking. Offsetting these riff and keyboards powered sections are sequences of a more delicate nature, where plucked careful guitars, wandering piano motifs, crying style guitar solo runs and keyboard textures of a more ethereal character all have their place.

The combination of these two types of at times starkly contrasting themes and arrangements works really well, and the contrast aspect is explored in an effective and striking manner throughout this album. The subtly theatrical, dramatic lead vocals of Alan Taylor is a good fit for these compositions, and his vocal style and delivery does add something of a rock opera spirit to some of these cuts, giving rise to associations towards some of Clive Nolan's exploits in that specific department.

The aforementioned lead vocals may be something of a divisive aspect of this album however, as this may be just a bit too melodramatic for some, and the mix and production also gives this production a slightly closed in sound that may not be universally appealing. But besides those who know they have sensitive tastes in those departments, "In Fine Initium" comes across as a strong and accomplished production by this still relatively new band, and I suspect that those who know and love later day Pendragon and Clive Nolan's rock opera projects should be the crowd that finds this CD to be most satisfying.

Windhawk | 4/5 |

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