Exposé Online banner

The Inner Road — Ascension
(Orbital Productions ORBCD001, 2013, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2014-06-11

Ascension Cover artAscension comes fairly soon on the heels of 2011’s Visions for this British two-man band. Since then there’s been a change at the guitar position with Phil Braithwaite being replaced by Jay Parmar. Keyboard player Steve Gresswell continues to deliver the Wakeman-like goodness that marked the best of Vision’s tracks, although for some Parmar may be too deeply cut from the Lynch/Vai/Satriani mold for comfort. His playing is loaded with trademark bends, chokes, squeals, and emotive leads, with little variation from one song to the next. For me a little bit of that particular style goes a long way and I was experiencing ear fatigue about half way through the album, especially on the weaker songs that reminded me of 80s Deep Purple. Still, for listeners who enjoy this brand of guitar these eight instrumentals have a lot to offer. Gresswell employs a broad palette of orchestral color and the better tracks benefit from his talent at symphonic arranging. Songs like “Ascension,” “Altered Reality,” and “Flight through Eternity” deliver a steady course of modulations, textural variation, dynamic shifts and harmonic invention. This one is also a step up in terms of the production with a wide dynamic range that delivers power from top to bottom. On the downside, I always prefer a live drummer though I’ve heard worse attempts at programmed percussion. I wouldn’t call Ascension a great album, but there aren’t many bands mining this particular territory so hopefully it will find an audience for these musicians’ impressive talents.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): The Inner Road

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Niacin - Niacin & High Bias – The cover of the first Niacin shows the venerable Hammond B3, a creature of legend. So you get an idea what you are in for. Who is Niacin? I think this would be called a "pet project" where...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues