Ascension are back! It’s been nearly ten years since their debut album – and we asked them about the present and the future of the band.
Hey guys, thank you for taking the time for an interview with Maizter Underground!
First of all – tell our readers a bit about yourselves. How was the band formed and is there a funny / interesting story to tell about the forming? Where are you from? Were band members of Ascension already active in other bands?
Hi Maizter Unground! Great to chat with you! Ascension originally formed back in the late 2000’s by Doc who wanted to start a new power metal band in Aberdeen, Scotland. We first found Ricki (our singer) after jamming out Valley of the Damned by Dragonforce together! There’s a long string of coincidences and connections that led us to our final lineup, including meeting Fraser and his schoolmate Dick – and then Fraser attending the same university course as our bassist Nick and bonding over a joint love of Helloween! From that lineup we started writing songs and making demos in order to try and find a direction or sound that we wanted for Ascension – something that is not static and always evolving!
As I am a big power metal fan myself I’d love to know – what inspired you to go for this Genre and what other Bands inspired you?
Originally for us it was old school power metal like early Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, Rhapsody, Blind Guardian and others! One thing that we realised is that at the time of our first album power metal was moving away from guitar being the forefront to relying on synths and orchestrations more – and we wanted to go back to it’s roots and produce a guitar-heavy album of pure power metal riffs, fast playing, epic melodies and thundering drums!
Your first album called “Far Beyond the Stars” was released nearly ten years ago. What was the reason for this really long break?
After the first album we were really happy with what we had made and tried to really launch the band at the time, but despite the album being universally well received we didn’t quite find the right path to making the band successful. After that album we had a bit of writers block – we knew that the next album had to be better and push new boundaries that perhaps we didn’t push hard enough with ‘Far Beyond the Stars’ – but felt no pressure to release something that we wouldn’t be happy with. We tried a lot of writing styles, some of which made it into Fraser’s solo project but nothing that felt like a massive step forward that we wanted to take. In reality, with the new album we think we have created something even better than ‘Far Beyond the Stars’ and a genuine new innovative take on power metal – something we will be proud to release and stand behind!
As we are talking about your first album.. there is a cover song of “Listen to your Heart” on it that is one of your most popular songs on Spotify to date (67.801 views). Why did you choose that one (don’t get me wrong here, I freaking love it)?
The key to power metal is melody is king – and popular music has an infinite of great songs and melodies – especially Roxette! Specifically, this song was a tribute to a friend of Fraser and Nick’s who sadly took his own life and so the video to the song on youtube is in honour of him. We don’t do covers often, but if we feel we can do something interesting or add to a song in some way we consider it!
How was your experience with the release of your first album? Did you get a good response from the Power-Metal Community for that one?
The response from power metal fans to our first album really blew us away. We were of course happy with the album – but did not think so many others would enjoy it as much as they did! We are very glad to have that kind of confidence boost from a debut album – but we can only say sorry that the second one took so long!
You shared the news that a new album called “Under the Veil of Madness” is on its way to us.
What does the road look like for you in the coming months and years? Do we have to be afraid of another very long break or can we even hope to see you live in Europe?
With this new album we feel that we have really found a unique identity for Ascension that can offer something fresh and new to the current state of metal music – it’s really given us a new gust of wind in our sails, a new energy to continue on. We think people will really enjoy the new album and with the fans support our plan is to get back into action with more music and A LOT more shows in the coming year and onwards! We won’t be silent for another 10 years I can promise that!
The first single of the mentioned album is called “Sayonara” and is out for ten days now. The reputation in the Youtube Comment Section is great so far and I really like the speed and power in this one (I mean, it’s called power metal, so.. anyway, this has some special drive for me 😉).
How was it to release a song after that long time? Were you afraid of the reputation? And how does the process of writing a Song look like for the band?
We are overjoyed at the response to the first single – this is definitely us testing the water for the rest of the music on the album and I can say that if you enjoyed this single then the rest of the album has a lot more for you to get in to! I can say that if we weren’t sure that we had created something to really make an impact we wouldn’t have released it – and that’s really why it took so long! We didn’t want to release a disappointing second album, we wanted something that fans of the first album would also enjoy as well as enticing many more people to hear the sound of Ascension!
As to our writing process, it also can be a long process – on most of the songs it is a combination of Nick, Doc, Ricki and Fraser all writing together and that I think is what makes the sound of Ascension, and this new sound is something we finally feel is our own!
Thank you for your time. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the Album and see you on the road soon!
Also, Ascension will release a new Single called “Megalomaniac” tomorrow, so keep an eye out!