(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Lead Journalist/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
The world of music is no longer governed by physical constraints or perceived borders in the modern age of technology. If a musician at Point A desires to work with an artist at Point B then real world proximity can basically do nothing to prevent that collaboration from occurring. Take, for instance, the subjects of this article, the NYC / London-based, progressive alt. metal project Ascending Dawn. The band will be re-releasing their full-length début, “Coalesce“, on December 1st.
Ascending Dawn are the living embodiment of what can happen when determination overcomes logistics. The band was formed in 2013 when a series of formulaic events resulted in the angelic (no pun intended) vocalist Marlain Angelides, guitarist Owen Rees and guitarist / drummer Mark Weatherley uniting the unit. At the time of the recording, bass duties were handled by Jennifer Fletcher who has since amicably exited Ascending Dawn.
The fact that the then-quartet were all well-seasoned, veteran musicians resonates within many moments of “Coalesce“. Music this progressive, this cohesive and advanced, just does not happen overnight. The tightly wound, rapidly djent styling of heavy hitting numbers like the adrenaline-pumping “All In Now“, “Integral” or “Indiscretion” is riveting. Each song resonates with regimented guitar riffing, purposeful and precise as dizzying rhythms and rapid-fire drum work bursts within them.
It is no intended deception that Marlain is pretty much the band’s secret weapon, her vocals ebb, flow and assert themselves in every breath. The masterfully executed music in songs like “Cannonball“, the alluring “Opposites” or the somewhat haunting vibes of “Inside The Silence” (lyric video premiere below) give her plenty of room to vocally roam. She does too, provoking the beauteous buoyancy of her verbal proclamations to soar upon the denser layers of audio beneath them.
Of course things are not all density and darkness, Ascending Dawn yield illuminating flickers of psychedelic nuances as well. There are ample turns into textured spaces where cerebral escapism results in exploratory, heady tranquility. The very best examples of this quickly coming to mind are the pair of back-to-back selections, the aforementioned “Inside The Silence” and the ambient-tinged, atmospherically striking instrumental, “Opaque“.
To recap, if you seek the liberating experience of listening to an album that is multifaceted and phenomenally fixating, take heed. Ascending Dawn have more than just risen to the challenge with “Coalesce“, for as its title suggests, the band manages to take many opposites and make one outstanding milestone. Blending, merging, melding extremes then rendering them unified, reciprocally replete within one monumental opus.