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NTH ASCENSION

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Nth Ascension biography
Founded in Blackpool, UK in 2010

Carrying the torch of the long history of British Neo-styled Prog bands, Nth Ascension came together around 2010 by a core of five musicians, namely Michael-Alan TAYLOR on vocals and bass, Craig Walker on drums and percussion, Martin Walker on guitars and Darrel Treece-Birch on keyboards.The band originates from the city of Blackpool with all members being involved in several other projects in the past with Treece-Birch becoming also the keyboardist of the legendary Hard Rock act TEN aroud the time of Nth Ascension's formation, while he has also released a pair of solo albums.The debut comes in 2011 under the title ''Frequencies of Day and Night'' and it's a nice mix of old and modern Neo Prog stylings similar to GREY LADY DOWN, ARENA and PALLAS.Apparently at some point bassist Gavin Walker joined them with Martin Walker focusing on lead vocals and the band currently works on a second album.

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Buy NTH ASCENSION Music


Stranger Than FictionStranger Than Fiction
Metatronic Records
$19.99
Ascension Of KingsAscension Of Kings
Sonic Vista Records
$19.99
Frequencies Of Day And NightFrequencies Of Day And Night
On Your Knees Records
$19.99
In Fine InitiumIn Fine Initium
CD Baby 2016
$17.98
$27.58 (used)

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NTH ASCENSION discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

NTH ASCENSION top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.49 | 21 ratings
Frequencies Of Day And Night
2011
3.86 | 46 ratings
Ascension Of Kings
2014
3.87 | 28 ratings
In Fine Initium
2016
3.81 | 32 ratings
Stranger Than Fiction
2019

NTH ASCENSION Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

NTH ASCENSION Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

NTH ASCENSION Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

NTH ASCENSION Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

NTH ASCENSION Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Stranger Than Fiction by NTH ASCENSION album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.81 | 32 ratings

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Stranger Than Fiction
Nth Ascension Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars So, the boys are back with their fourth album. There can't be many bands who can say that the only change in line- up since the debut is that the father of two of the members joined in time for the second and they have been the same ever since. While Martin Walker (guitars) is there to keep a weather eye on his sons Craig (drums) and Gavin (bass) the line-up is completed by Darrel Treece-Birch (keyboards) and Michael Alan Taylor (vocals). DTB and I have been friends for some years, ever since I came across his solo album 'Celestial' years ago, and he in turn then came across my review. As well as being an active artist in his own right (I urge you to check out his albums if you haven't already), he is also keyboard player with Ten and has appeared on the last five albums with that band, so is certainly busy. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention Alan's solo album as well, 'Avalonia (The Sonnets of Guinevere)' which was one of my albums of the year for 2018. Get it on vinyl!

That's enough back story and we need to get on with the album at hand. Writing in the band is very collaborative, with Initial 'bare bones' of songs being brought into a rehearsal setting and the band enhancing from there. Once the song is fleshed out and expanded upon it is then ready for playing live or indeed recording. All members of the band bring ideas to the table and in some cases a reinvention of older ideas from the various incarnations of previous bands, e.g. 'Sound To Light' is a song written originally in 1991 by DTB, at which time it was only eight minutes long and not the epic 18 minutes it now closes the album with. The guys cite different references, with the likes of Marillion, Genesis, Yes, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Rush, Dream Theater and Pink Floyd being mentioned, but they have taken all those elements and then built them into something which is very much of their own design.

Musically this is highly arranged neo prog which also straddles at times into melodic hard rock and symphonic prog, by a band who are determined people are not going to forget the 'rock' side of the terminology. Martin is an inventive guitarist who produces superb solos and hard riffs while Gavin keeps it all together and Craig shows he is determined to make his drums front and centre. He doesn't overpower what is going on but instead provides fills and rolls as if he is channelling his inner Neal Peart. Then you have DTB and Michael Alan. DTB isn't a flashy keyboard player in any way, and fully understands his part in this band, so at times he can seem almost restrained, but that is because here is a group who feel incredibly organic, who understand the whole is more important than individuals and he is always there either providing support to others, adding melodic nuances or touches as the need arises. At the front there is Mr. Taylor, surely one of the most under-rated singers in the scene. His vocals drip emotion, and are always full of power, and although he may not sing as high as others his approach is perfect for the music at hand.

Nth Ascension have somehow never managed to capture the imagination and interest of progheads like many others who are less worthy, and perhaps that is because there is at times an opinion from some that neo prog is a term only to be used with derision. But take it from me, it was this style of music which kept the scene alive some 25 years ago, and if this had been released back then it would be deemed to be a classic of the genre. As for me, I'm just going to keep playing this and enjoying it each and every time, as the boys have yet again delivered the goods.

 Stranger Than Fiction by NTH ASCENSION album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.81 | 32 ratings

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Stranger Than Fiction
Nth Ascension Neo-Prog

Review by 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...
 Stranger Than Fiction by NTH ASCENSION album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.81 | 32 ratings

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Stranger Than Fiction
Nth Ascension Neo-Prog

Review by steve55

5 stars Well folks where can I start with this review, These guys keep raising the bar, I already heard their first 2 albums ( both superb) but now this new disc that is now in digi pack version, ? and with a beautiful art work cover, It is simply stunningly good. Are they on steroids or what. Each and every member of the band have made it their intension to improve on their game... and it shows. This lovely album of near 70 minutes of pure class Prog is really quite delightfull . From a mellow beginning witha quiet instrumental which is very beautiful and then we are introducee to merry mayhem with TRUE IDENTITY.. A simply superb upbeat 5 minute rocker.. I love the bass playing here. Then we have a true classic FIRE IN THE SKY. a near 8 minute soulful beginings then rock it up a little beauty. SO very catchy number I'm sure you will be haunted by it's singalong ability. Track 4 is a quality song also, with a 10 minute length and endearing guitar it is the first epic. followed by THE GATHERING... it's 7 minute length of at first spoken introduction then up tempo into the real epic of track 6 JOURNE'S END. A 15 minute masterpiece, I simply love this song.. it guides you in to a lovely repeating almost Led Zeppelin repeated guitar riff, with interplay between bass guitar. quite catchy and burning into your soul. Track 7 is a acoustic title LAMENT and at near 2 minutes it is a nice instrumental to catch your breath before the simply epic and wonderful track 8.. SOUND TO LIGHT.. This is in my opinion their best ever song.. It is 0ver 18 minutes long and it simply awesome... With a recurring riff that will haunt you forever, also wonderful vocals from Alan Taylor and magnificent key work from Darrel Treece Birch with interplay from guitar guy Martin walker. Not forgetting drumming from Craig Walker which is powerful and skilful. meanwhile his brother Gavin on bass keeps hammering away like a piston. This lovely album is in my humble opinion my pick for album of the year for Prog.. It simply has no weak songs, it is consistent and it has a bit of class, furthermore, every band member is on top of their game. I very much recommend you to give this great album a listen. it is a real grower. That is fact not fiction.
 In Fine Initium by NTH ASCENSION album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.87 | 28 ratings

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In Fine Initium
Nth Ascension Neo-Prog

Review by Kingsnake

2 stars With people namedropping Saga and Pendragon I got curious.

As of lately I''ve grown weary of progmetal and neoprog and other genres wich solely rely on studio-power and electronic instruments. On the other hand I love electronic music (psybient, psytrance etc.), but I'm diverting.

I think with my renewed interest in more analogue based-music and seventies progrock aswell as modern bands playing in the old stylistics and have an retro-sound, a lot of modern neoprog and progmetal sounds too sterile and devoid of soul and passion.

That's exactly what's going on with Nth Ascension. Although I can hear how skilled the musicians are, it frustrates me. It's like getiing hit by a freighttrain and dragged on by that freighttrain for an hour. It's much too much for me.

Also I really don;t like the leadvocals. His timbre (?) annoys me. The music is more in the vein of Arena and Galahad than Saga or Pendragon. Where Saga is more pop-oriented and Pendragon has much more soul, Nth Ascension is basically continuing the music Marillion once made.

I can recommend this to any fan of Arena, Galahad and old Marillion and neoprogkitch, but I cannot recommend this to people who want to hear subtle music with room to breathe.

 In Fine Initium by NTH ASCENSION album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.87 | 28 ratings

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In Fine Initium
Nth Ascension Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars For their 2016 album, Nth Ascension made the move to American label MRR, and the confidence they gained from the critical acclaim of their debut is clearly apparent. Whereas the debut 'Ascension of Kings' was an excellent album, this one just seems to have that touch more depth in every area. There are three songs more than ten minutes in length, and as well as channelling the likes of Pendragon and Clive Nolan there is also far more in the way of Pink Floyd, Magnum and Saga. The music is arranged in such a way that Alan's vocals are very much to the fore of everything that is going on, which to me is a huge benefit as he has more than a touch of Roger Chapman and particularly Cyrus (Citizen Cain) about what he is doing, although I am aware that it may not be to everyone's tastes.

It is a class album that is full of the Nineties prog scene in so many ways, and anyone who lived through that musical period such as I will be listening to this with a huge smile on their face, yet it has been brought both up to date in terms of production as well as looking back into the Seventies for inspiration here and there. Craig is a great drummer, driving the tunes from the back and adding fills and stylings when the need is right, always working the kit without overpowering the rest of the guys. His brother Gavin does far more to lock down the sound and keep it tight, but also moves away from grounding songs when it is time for him to add additional melody. Their dad either riffs, solos, or sits back and has a rest and does nothing, so that when he does make an entrance it always has an impact. Then of course there is Ten keyboard player and solo artist Darrel, providing curtains of sounds, or taking the lead, or adding dynamic piano, whatever is required.

The more I played this album the more I enjoyed it, as the more I gained from it. While the debut was strong, this is far more distilled, controlled, and so thoroughly enjoyable.

 Ascension Of Kings by NTH ASCENSION album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.86 | 46 ratings

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Ascension Of Kings
Nth Ascension Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars In 2009, drummer Craig Walker was asked to stand in for a local band, where he met keyboard player Darrel Treece-Birch, who was also helping them out. This led to them deciding to start a new project together, and they brought along Darrel's long time collaborators Martin Walker (who just happens to be Craig's dad) and singer/bassist Alan 'Spud' Taylor. After the release of a demo, Gavin Walker (Craig's brother, Martin's son ? are you following this?) was brought in as bassist to allow Alan to concentrate on singing. At the time of the release (2014) Darrel was in two other bands, one of which was Ten (with whom he is still with today), and singer Gary Hughes helped out by engineering and producing Alan, as well as providing some backing vocals. But these guys are a totally different style of music to what Darrel plays in Ten.

Some people will argue that these guys are neo prog, while others may look to crossover, but it is honestly just easier to state that they are a very English sounding prog band. Classic Pendragon have obviously been an influence, but so have some of the more keyboard- oriented pastoral bands of the past, and every time I play the classic "Weight of The World" the vocals remind me of some of the songs from Roger Glover's 'The Butterfly Ball'! I think what I like about the album is that there is so little stress within it, it is quite laid back at times, but they know when the guitars need to make an impact without always crunching out riffs. They are all fine musicians, but are quite happy to sit back and often let Darrel lead the musical flow while Alan sits over the top of it all with wonderfully melodious vocals. They close with the eighteen-minute-long "Vision" which allows them to musically stretch their wings, yet still keep it all contained and incredibly melodic. Driving, pastoral yet rocky when they need to be, melodic, musical, this is a really nice album indeed.

 In Fine Initium by NTH ASCENSION album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.87 | 28 ratings

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In Fine Initium
Nth Ascension Neo-Prog

Review by 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.

 Ascension Of Kings by NTH ASCENSION album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.86 | 46 ratings

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Ascension Of Kings
Nth Ascension Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars UK band NTH ASCENSION was formed at the start of 2010, initially as a quartet, and one year later they released a debut album of sorts: A live demo album called "Frequencies of Day and Night" which was made available as a CD-R and as a free digital download. "Ascension of Kings", their official debut album, was released through the now apparently dormant UK label Sonic Vista Music. The band has since signed with the US label Melodic Revolution Records, which currently also has the distribution rights to this album.

Nth Ascension is a band that, on this occasion, combines classic hard rock sounds with vintage-like neo progressive rock, exploring each style individually at first and then combined at the end of the CD. Those who tend to enjoy bands such as Magnum and Saga just as much as Marillion and Pendragon should feel right at home with the contents of this CD, and should probably take the time to get familiar with it.

 Ascension Of Kings by NTH ASCENSION album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.86 | 46 ratings

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Ascension Of Kings
Nth Ascension Neo-Prog

Review by PH

5 stars Nth ASCENSION's new musical journey is called 'Ascension Of Kings'. It represents a curious diversity with shades of Magnum, Foreigner, Asia, early Marillion, Yes, Rush, Pink Floyd, Arena (to name a few). What's more, the concoction of influences melds into a passionate exploration of the band's own quirky style. All the ingredients are in right place. Predominantly, the compositions work on two levels: bombastic segments alternate with the delicate nuances and sublime melodies. The lyrics add some poetic feeling to this craftily arranged, compelling affair.. Well, let's elaborate. The opening track, 'Fourth Kingdom', brings a gravitas with exhilarating lead vocals (Michael 'SPUD' Alan Taylor), terrific guitar performance (Martin Walker), layers of synthesizers (Darrel Treece-Birch), energetic drumming (Craig Walker) and associated bass (Gavin Walker). The vanguard song is followed by 'Return Of The King', drawing on a subtly intense power that drives this instrumental forward. Next up, 'Strange Dreams', which starts enthusiastic, then continues changing and evolving throughout its duration. The pace slows down on 'Overture (Clanaan pt.1)' with a vaguely disquieting feel. Its successor, 'Realm With A Soul (Clanaan pt.2)', features gloomy mood and rather distant vocal harmonies. The third instrumental on this album is captivating 'Seventh Rider (Clanaan pt.3)'. Again, the guitar player sets his palette to the fore. In particular, Andy Latimer comes to mind. An unhurried tempo 'Weight Of The World' I'd describe like balladry Roxy Music coupled with Asia-type choruses. Finally, we have a monumental epic, Vision'. This tour-de-force brings the CD to a solemn close. Great stuff!.. Hope, the exquisitely packed 'Ascension Of Kings' will put Nth Ascension on the map of important prog-rock bands.
 Frequencies Of Day And Night by NTH ASCENSION album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.49 | 21 ratings

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Frequencies Of Day And Night
Nth Ascension Neo-Prog

Review by PH

4 stars Channelling amalgam of early Marillion (Fish-era), Rush, IQ and Arena, the new British group NTH ASCENSION have delivered a debut CD 'Frequencies Of Day And Night''. Anyone who was in part of vibrant neoprogressive rock scene in the 80's era, can find elements of this release really nostalgic. Songwriting is of a high quality. All compositions are melodic, incorporating a variety of good motifs. The trademark is the energy of performance. Some dramatic and quieter pieces are included as well. This quartet consists of: Michael Alan Taylor (bass guitar, lead singing), Darrel Treece-Birch (keyboards), Martin Walker (guitars) and Craig Walker (drums & percussion). So, take a moment and familiarize yourself with what is here... If there're quibbles, it's only on the production side. Otherwise, 'Frequencies Of Day And Night' is a solid visiting card. We have only just gotten to the tip of what's possible for these talented guys.
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