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Nth Ascension - Stranger Than Fiction CD (album) cover

STRANGER THAN FICTION

Nth Ascension

 

Neo-Prog

4.03 | 15 ratings

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Second Endeavour
4 stars NTH ASCENSION come up with their fourth CD 'Stranger Than Fiction'. And I was wondering to know how the British band sounds in 2019. The line-up remains the same as before, and is comprised of: the lead singer Michal Alan Taylor, Martin Walker (electric & acoustic guitars), Darrel Treece-Birch (keyboards), Gavin Walker (bass), Craig Walker (drums & percussion). Their latest, eight-track record applies a variety of different colours, alterations and tones resulting in the 72 + minutes album that is mere intriguing. Now let's elaborate. Appropriately titled 'The Opening' begins with the distant thunderclap and sound of sea waves rolling, before entering of sublime vocalization complemented by the flawless orchestral backdrop. In itself, it's a wonderful piece of music which should apply to people who crave to hear a Celtic vibe. By the time this engaging introduction to the album ends, you would expect somewhat yet in agreeable style, but instead find a ponderous 'True Identity'. In my view, this power metal plot is an odd inclusion to the set - just because it sounds overly heavy, reminding of the Manowar trend. And I am praying for the next song to begin. Fortunately, the third composition 'Fire In The Sky' is one of my personal favorites on the entire album. The instrumental performances of all musicians and emotive vocals work together suitably well, giving lots of hope for the subsequent material. Being contrast with its predecessor, 'Reconciled' leans to a classic hard-rock pattern. Despite this reservation, it's a solid track with fairly diverse moods. Towards the middle, there is a tranquil section featuring superlative guitar work and soulful lead singing. To move things further, a later segment returns to initial groove. The disc continues with a massive, almost 25 min. musical block where 'The Gathering', 'Journeys End' and 'Lament' dovetail well, being hewn from the cloth of multi-faced tapestry 'Clanaan' which is familiar from the earlier CD's (here, respectively, we have new parts number 7, 8, 9) - and each adding wealth of diverse elements, melodies, textures to ensure the holistic impression. As if this wasn't enough, the ultimate piece 'Sound To Light' lasts 18 + min. saturated with the interaction of all partners allowing the music to provide transitions with enough of contrast going on. In that sense, a long epic carries the album to worthy conclusion. So what can be said about CD 'Stranger Than Fiction' as a whole? Of course, I do have a negative remark concerning the second track on this CD. But for the most part, Nth Ascension unveil here a strong work that features the peculiar songwriting, high-classy musicianship and profound singing. It certainly deserves to be heard by prog rock audience...
Second Endeavour | 4/5 |

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