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Ascensions Of The Watchers - Apocrypha

Ascensions Of The Watchers
by Craig Rider at 30 September 2020, 12:11 PM

Metal maniacs, rejoice! I am proud to present to you: ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS; signed via Dissonance Records, hailing from the United States of America - performing Gothic/Alternative Rock/Dark Ambient/Industrial Rock… on their sophomore LP entitled: “Apocrypha” (released October 9th, 2020).

Since formation in 2001; the trio in question have a Demo entitled: “Iconoclast” (released in 2004), and 2 LPs the first entitled: “Numinosum” (released February 18th 2008) & this here 2nd LP that I am about to review entitled: “Apocrypha” 11 tracks ranging at around an hour and a few minutes…ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS arrange an intricately designed formula of some heavy-hitting Gothic/Alternative Rock/Dark Ambient/Industrial Rock amalgamations.

This being a side-project from industrial metal pioneers: FEAR FACTORY; their renowned vocalist Burton C. Bell has revived ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS, while it being a main premise in his career for over a decade, and now officially calling it quits with the FEAR to experiment his attention and energy on making something more diverse, detailed and experimental…the man has conjured a joint supergroup with KILLING JOKE’s keyboardist John Bechdel that makes this a dynamic virtuose on quintessential songwriting musicianship variety that professionally solar’s this no surprising feat as to why this would be Burton’s main focus, innovatively speaking of course.

Opening up with this static shroud using some upbeat keyboard synths; electronica-fused, and industrial rock remedies rumble with reverberating adrenaline… “Ghost Heart” articulates a boisterously bouncy calamity in amplified fretworks in which revolve around a wildly rushing synergy of sophisticated yet alternative hooks; elementing a groovy execution in punchy tightness with rawly rough creativity, echoing an immersive craftsmanship concept in dark ambience intertwined into a gothic atmosphere while the chunky alternative rock pulls through this gravitational leap in tense thrills in evoking 80’s/90’s cult dark imaginations. Full of pondering broodiness, cinematic tones with surreal boundaries and a borderline foundation of riveting jumpiness that’s full of spiritually hybrid harmonies while juxtaposed with this progressively technical zest that surges with trailblazing substance & organically sulphurous melancholy…of the mellifluous and euphonic kind.

Consisting of FEAR FACTORY mastermind Burton C. Bell on vocals/guitar; the frontman excels at an enlightening attribute in clean, but fluidly polished pipes that sing with this eerie but ghostly presence. His guitars skyrocket with ominously majestic rompiness, while “The End Is Always The Beginning” is a haunting maelstrom on other-worldly nature on the pure solace of what lies ahead after death. KILLING JOKE’s keyboardist John Bechdel plays a big part on this record; showcasing this hypnotic flow in mesmerising yet spellbinding orchestration, utilizing this sublime pattern of striking moods that vibe this ritualistic shine on panache & lofty instrumentation. The titular track opens up with this cryptic breathing…until more spacey rhythms revels into an adventurous ability in weighty pummels with rompy drum hammering from bonging batterer Jayce Lewis (also on backing vocals/programming). The lyrics are based on desolation, woe & sorrowful resonance here, it’s all incredibly deep but there’s lots of meaning & beauty within these messages. An operatic rock ballad and love story on intimate nature, loss and care of one’s existence. A higher level of thinking to feeling, helping draw the minds, hearts & aspirations of people to assemble a deep but cohesive celebration of reflection in beauty and kindness…it’s all intriguing and thought provoking.

A Wolf Interlude” materialises more distraught emotions of one's feelings for another individual, it’s all full of heartache and utmost sadness where I feel we all relate to in one way or another…makes you feel as if you’re not alone listening to this. “Honorée” is in the title; similar to the previous two tracks of one’s dependence on one’s happiness, another dramatic tale on honoring a loved one’s presence of admiration…a lot of this until mid-portion of the record comes in with the thunderously tempestuous storm surge “Stormcrow” which supplies this much more powerful rift in monstrously meaty thumpiness which is a breath of fresh air from the shallow interludes of the past few tracks. Embodying a dexterously chiselling flair on firepower that’s just muchly needed, shredding with sonically seamless rips and a vibrantly quirky manifestation on meticulous hymns in which takes one out of that possessive perseverance from before…one of the more energetic bangers.

Cygnus Aeon” brings forth another cinematic component, until this strumming acoustic flamboyance distils & belts eardrums while merging rambunctious pounds while the vocals chant into a easy-listening sense of singing prowess, all enchanting and distinguished while remaining profusely robust with strong variety. While “Key To The Cosmos” unlocks this potent potential with soulfully fulfilling but ethereal yet mystically unearthly tempos of upbeat, talent with soothing jingles that will awaken inner cheeriness within you. “Bells Of Perdition” charms an intriguing fabrication in contrast and constructively explorative performances that will surprise you with more synthesized entrancements, bewitching and chilling expertise. The penultimate track “Wanderers” offers more magnetizing, monolithic rock soundscapes while the overall concluding song “Sign Your Name” persistently ends in a marvellously stunning fashion fabricating aforementioned characteristics and many more stunning surprises that’re solidified really well.

Bottom line; I am compelled to say that ASCENSIONS OF THE WATCHERS was indeed an immersively fascinating listen, I can’t recommend it to extreme metal maniacs craving that sound of distortion & grinding malevolence…but if you like relaxing music with tinges of alternative and conceptual hard rock terrains, which varies a lot… “Apocrypha” is certainly an interesting discovery, and is definitely worth the listen while broadening your musical landscape with…check it out.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Ghost Heart
2. The End Is Always The Beginning
3. Apocrypha
4. A Wolf Interlude
5. Honorée
6. Stormcrow
7. Cygnus Aeon
8. Key To The Cosmos
9. Bells Of Perdition
10. Wanderers
11. Sign Your Name
Burton C. Bell - Vocals, Guitar
John Bechdel - Keyboards
Jayce Lewis - Drums, Backing Vocals, Programming
Record Label: Dissonance Records


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Edited 04 February 2023

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