Far Beyond the Stars
ASCENSION

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ASCENSION - Far Beyond the Stars cover
4.12 | 6 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2012

Filed under Power Metal

Tracklist

1. Somewhere Back in Time (6:00)
2. Blackthorne (5:51)
3. Reflected Life (6:39)
4. Heavenly (6:02)
5. Moongate (8:08)
6. Orb of the Moons (4:47)
7. The Silver Tide (5:26)
8. The Time Machine (7:29)
9. Far Beyond the Stars (1:15)
10. The Avatar (Ascension) (9:41)

Total Time 61:18

Line-up/Musicians

- Nick Blake / Bass
- Dick Gilchrist / Drums
- Fraser Edwards / Guitars
- Stuart Docherty / Guitars
- Richard Carnie / Vocals

with

- Elias Holmlid / Keyboards on "Orb of the Moons"

About this release

Released by Spiritual Beast, March 21st, 2012.

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition

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ASCENSION FAR BEYOND THE STARS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"Far Beyond the Stars" is the debut full-length studio album by UK power metal act Ascension. The album was released through Spiritual Beast in March 2012. Ascension were formed in 2004 and have a couple of EPs under their belt, but this is their first full-length release.

The music on the album is "classic" Euro power metal albeit mostly without keyboards. Fast-paced and energetic riffing, double pedal drumming and a lead vocalist who sounds like he has just swallowed a ballon filled with hellium. Alright...I´m exaggerating a bit, but the vocals are at times very high pitched. They are also extremely well sung and with both harmony vocals and anthemic choirs as part of the repetoire too. Lead vocalist Richard Carnie is a very skilled singer and that can´t be said enough times. Another great feaure in the music are the shredding and melodic harmony lead guitar work courtesy of guitarists Fraser Edwards and Stuart Docherty and when you also have a well playing rhythm section who understand how to vary pace and style to keep the music interesting, "Far Beyond the Stars" more or less end up as "Euro power metal delight".

...sure Ascension don´t invent the wheel here and artists like Helloween, Sonata Arctica and DragonForce certainly haven´t lived in vain, but the songwriting on the album is top notch, the musicianship outstanding and the sound production professional and powerful, so all in all we´re dealing with a very high quality power metal album. The positive energy flowing from this album is enough to keep me happy for days after each listen.

At 61:18 minutes the album is a bit long, but the band generally write pretty long tracks and I can´t say I would have liked for one of them to have been left out. Fans of guitar/vocal dominated Euro power metal featuring great energy and lots of speed are recommended to check this one out. A 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.
Diogenes
Ascension is a fairly young band-you can hear it in their playing. Almost immediately, I got the same vibe from this album as I did from Sonata Arctica’s Ecliptica (so it’s no surprise that I like this too), and that’s pure, unadulterated power metal energy. Granted, Ascension goes about their business in a fairly different manner than the Finns ever did, preferring to front their assault with a twin-guitar attack rather than noodle around with keyboards, harpsichords, and what have you. Now, I’m as big of a fan of the Stratovarius method of power metal as anyone (well, maybe not ANYONE, but I like it), but the music on Far Beyond the Stars is certainly not without charms of its own. The lack of a real electronic presence means that there are riffs-yes, RIFFS!-heavily rooted in speed metal territory. Make no mistake about it; Ascension is just as adept at kicking your ass as they are at riding unicorns and slaying dragons (or whatever power metal cliché you wish).

Still, while this album isn’t a total cheesefest, the majority of the over-the-top power metal mannerisms that you’re bound to be sick of by now are here in abundance. Most of the songs are fast-paced, built on guitar harmonies that border on Maiden territory, and frequently break into melodic choruses that feature plenty of crotch-grabbing vocal moments from singer Richard Carnie (the dude can WAIL). Double bass drum patterns are used extensively, and the lyrics aren’t exactly gospel to anyone who’s familiar with the genre (freedom, self-empowerment; all of that good stuff).

In the end, though, I have to give it to Ascension; these guys have taken a formula that’s been beaten to death, beat it some more, and spit out a debut album that’s just plain enjoyable as all get out. Not once while listening to Far Beyond the Stars did I think “gosh, this sounds an awful lot like bands X, Y, and Z;” rather, my reaction was more along the lines of “If I was in a power metal band, this is EXACTLY what I’d want it to sound like”. Why? Because it has good songs! This album is simply full of great, catchy tunes that will go in one ear and stay there right from listen number one. It’s an album that just pounds you with energy from the get-go and doesn’t let up, while remaining plenty interesting to hold anyone’s attention through multiple plays in a row.

This isn’t luck, either. Ascension is clearly just good at writing catchy material. Part of this goes back to the overall energetic nature of the band; after all, that’s what should be expected from a power metal album, and it’s something that Far Beyond the Stars delivers in spades. Yes, there’s a lot of double bass, but the patterns played scream creativity and enthusiasm; they’re an actual boost to the songs instead of something that’s been thrown in there because this is power metal and that’s just what happens. In the big picture, though, Ascension obviously has a very clear vision of what they want to play, and they go out and play it with conviction. That’s really all you can ask for from an up-and-coming band, and sometimes it’ll yield some pretty impressive results too. This is definitely one of those examples; Far Beyond the Stars is one of the best power metal albums I’ve heard in a very long time, and is one more brilliant example of how songwriting is the great trump card.
adg211288
Far Beyond The Stars is the debut full-length album by Scottish power metal act Ascension (not to be confused with a number of other artists using the same name). The band, who have been active since 2004 have released a number of minor releases up until this point. Far Beyond The Stars was released in 2012.

At a casual listen it should be clear to anyone that the main driving force behind Far Beyond The Stars is European styled melodic power metal. At its core it’s a fairly typical sound for the genre that Ascension has produced although they do it very well. Dig a bit deeper though and it becomes more and more apparent that there are many influences out of progressive metal within the album. Not enough really to set it apart from the power metal clichés that are the more obvious influence for the band’s music, but enough to keep the album flowing through an about an hour duration without getting stale. It still feels very much an ‘it’s all been done before’ album, so you can’t expect anything revolutionary, but Ascension clearly know their craft well and produced a solid first album in Far Beyond The Stars.

There is in fact little negativity that can rightly be aimed at the album. The only real reason I can’t score this one higher is that it just doesn’t have enough of its own identity to justify any higher than a ‘great album’ tier rating. The musicians clearly have the chops and the talent at writing within the genre, and their vocalist Richard Carnie has an impressive set of pipes for this sort of music to top it all off. There is simply room for the young band to grow yet. But for a first album Far Beyond The Stars is very much a job well done to these ears, and a recommended release for power metal fans.

8.2/10

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org) on 29/08/12)

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