Ascension Theory - Answers
Nightmare Records
Progressive Metal
10 songs (46'04)
Release year: 2006
Ascension Theory, Nightmare Records
Reviewed by Marty
Surprise of the month
I thought there was something strangely familiar with this band. Several years ago, I reviewed a CD by a progressive rock/metal act by the name of Aztec Jade called Concrete Eden. Two of the former members of that band namely vocalist/guitarist Leon Ozug and keyboardist Tim Becker along are back along with drummer Chad Lenig in this new project called Ascension Theory. Answers is the band's second album and the follow-up to their debut Regenerator. Lyrically, the album deals with the personal struggle against politics and other obstacles that stand in the way of one realizing their dreams and ambitions. Fans of Dream Theater, Kamelot and even Queensryche will find lots to like about this band as they share many musical similarities.

The album gets underway with a great opening track Passion Of My Heart that is very reminiscent of Kamelot with it's chunky heavy prog metal style and passionate Roy Khan like vocals. The chorus is structured in such a way that it would fit perfectly with the Kamelot sound of their last couple of albums. Lockstep mixes lighter and heavier sections and with a more prominent keyboard presence, similarities in melodic structure bring Everon to mind. Perfect Plan is another stand-out track that is more epic and dramatic in feel. With booming heavy riffs, lots of rhythmic tempo changes and a great layered psychadelic flavored chorus section, it all works very well. The mid tempo prog metal with chunky riffing continues with Saturn's Reign before things take a rather abrupt turn into different musical territories. To Be Content is rather nice sounding piano ballad with Leon's vocals reminding me of the passionate style of Zak Stevens(Savatage, Circle II Circle). With The Way Of Death, female vocals are provided by Beverly Luse and for a brief monent, we leave Ascension Theory and are in the realm of The Gathering or Edenbridge. This one's very out of character with the flow of the rest of the album. Decisions continues the use of female vocals but this time, it's in a duet format with a track that uses plodding heavy riffs with solid piano and expressive lead guitar breaks. The lead guitar style of Loen Ozug is very tasteful, effective and never over used. End Game gets back to the prog metal style of the first half of the album and it leads into an instrumental track Refractions. Leon's guitar is front and centre and features lots of melodic and thematic lead work. Answers finishes the album and adheres to the more melodic prog metal aspects that Ascension Theory does so well.

There's lots to like about this album and this band in general. The vocals of Leon Ozug are strong and very passionate and fit perfectly with the musical aspects of Ascension Theory. Unlike most other prog metal bands that fill every track to capacity with very technical lead playing, Ascension Theory prefers rhythmic changes and riff breaks over solos and in fact, many tracks have very little lead guitar at all. This is a nice refreshing change and fans of the prog metal genre will know all too well exactly what I'm talking about. The production is good but the drums sound very "tentative" and should have been mixed with more power and majesty. For the most part, when Ascension Theory sticks to the very melodic prog metal style of bands like Kamelot and Dream Theater, it works very well. However in a few instances, we see the band jumping all over the place with different types of tracks and at times leaves you wondering if you're listening to the same album. It's probably just a case of the band still "testing the waters" to see just what works and what doesn't. With Answers, we get several tracks that are of above average quality in the prog metal genre and others that fall just a bit short. This album is a very enjoyable listen for prog metal fans and Ascension Theory certainly has all the prerequisites to be a great band. Consistency will go along way in helping them to achieve that.

Killing Songs :
Passion Of My Heart, Perfect Plan, Saturn's Reign and Decisions
Marty quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Ascension Theory that we have reviewed:
Ascension Theory - Regeneration reviewed by Ben and quoted 81 / 100
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