Released: 2005, Nightmare Records
Ascension Theory is a relatively new American band, hailing from Amsterdam, N.Y. The group, formed in 2002 by leaders Leon Ozug and Tim Becker, released their first album, REGENERATION, in the same year – these guys work fast! Picked up by Nightmare Records the band, now rounded out by drummer Chad Lenig, has prepared their sophomore album which was released last year.
Even though it contains all of the hallmarks of progressive metal, including the wacky time-signatures, time shifts, arcane lyrics, and fancy-pants songwriting, ANSWERS is, in some ways, the album those prog-metal haters have been waiting for. Sounds weird don’t it? The thing is, Ascension Theory has the ability to finish what needs to be done, and do it in a span of less than 6 minutes – that’s right ADD kids, no excessive songs here! I guess Ozug’s and Becker’s many years in the business (about a decade for both) have taught them how to be concise with their writing.
As a result, ANSWERS flies by, but still makes an impression. Ozug has an impressive set up pipes which are quickly shown off on album opener (and highlight) “Passion of My Heart”. While that song is rather catchy and straightforward, the crunch and the prog get turned way up for the rest of the album, running the gamut of the genre with ease. The great thing about it is the band has their own sound and avoids the easy copycatting that so many other bands use.
ANSWERS is not a genre-defining disc (a couple of weak tracks in the second half drag it down), but it is an excellent release. Good music is good music regardless of genre, and Ascension Theory’s work fits the bill. I’ll be looking forward to more from these guys in the future.