Ascension Theory - Regeneration
Year of Release: 2002
Catalog Number: n/a
Total Time: 45:28:00
THE REGENERATION CONCEPT -
Two interstellar civilizations are locked in a perpetual war. A veteran soldier from one side dreams of building a new colony, one far enough away from the fighting to live in peace. On his first attempt, he is dealt a devastating blow. His fleet is ambushed by the enemy and forced to crash on a desolate moon. There, he encounters a hospitable but previously unknown race of beings who are on the verge of fulfilling a dream of their own. With their help, he must find a way to revive the sleeping colonists, and overcome the despair and guilt of his failure.
Former Aztec Jade members Tim Becker and Leon Ozug combine their various talents to create Ascension Theory, a project that is a musical hybrid of rock, light metal, pop, and epic cinematic moments thanks to the huge orchestrations of Tim Becker. While the music is not overly heavy, nor would most consider it metal, the impact of the music alone makes this heavy enough for some metal heads to appreciate. It's a welcome, fresh approach to music - with keyboards being the focal point here, and the guitars complementing them. The emphasis is on bringing the story to the listener in an emotional and dramatic way, and Ascension Theory does this superbly. The song structures range in varied styles from ballads, to prog rock meets prog metal, to melodic rock, techno rock, and so on. There is basically something here for everyone.
Leon Ozug is, and remains one of the best singers in the business period. A virtually "undiscovered" voice in music unless you are familiar with Aztec Jade - he has been the talk of the town whether on disc or in a live setting, and on Regeneration, he shows that time means nothing to him in terms of losing his voice. If anything, his voice is stronger than ever, and his voice certainly brings the story to life. Leon has a beautiful tone to his voice - which is the key to his success. He has range, which he shows here frequently, and on soft ballads he can croon like a love-torn pop star if need be. I'd like to compare his voice to someone to give an idea of who he sounds like, but this is impossible. The nearest comparison I can think of is some sort of a hybrid voice between a softer Geoff Tate and James LaBrie. He brings the story to life with his amazing style and emotion.
The production sounds like it was all done electronically, and may distract from purists loving this disc -- but as it sounds, it's a better than average recording than lots of bands who use pro equipment. The guitars could be a little more up in the mix maybe, and a little chunkier, and a little more bottom end would have added to some wall shaking moments, but aside from that, the recording sounds nice and is well done.
Overall, this is a superb effort. The music is somewhat akin to what Aztec Jade might have done had they continued on, only on a grander scale. Tim Becker certainly has found the key to melodic success, and drowns the listener in glorious melodies that you can only keep repeating "beautiful, gorgeous, emotional", over and over again. The female singer sounds absolutely angelic as well. Anyone into melodic rock / light metal needs to hear this disc, if not only for a lesson on how to make music sound beautiful without being sappy.
I'd like to take a moment and direct you to the Ascension Theory website -- aside from being beautiful work, it has everything anyone could want on this band, from lyrics, the story, sound samples, and history on the members. It shows the effort and class that Tim Becker has put into this project, not only musically, but from a personal and professional standpoint as well. Excellent project; highly recommended.
I Warriors (5:29) / II Sleeper (One Flies Away) (5:00) / III Eridani (5:41) / IV Speaker (6:50) / IV Lovers (I'll Wait For You) (3:40) / VI Pieces (5:37) / VII Enemies (4:37) / VIII Reflections (1:34) / IX Regeneration (8:20)
Tim Becker - keyboards, all instruments
Leon Ozug - vocals, guitars
Genre: Progressive-Power Metal
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