Created in 2009 and born in January 2010 under the original name of Nth Degree. At this early stage the band consisted of Darrel Treece-Birch, Craig Walker, martin Walker and Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor. In 2011 the band changed the name to Nth Ascension and recorded a ‘live’ demo album entiled ‘Frequencies of Day & Night’. This was self-released as CD-Rs, also available as a free download via Aurovine. The band was signed by Aurovine/Sonic Vista directly after a live performance and the band set to work on an official debut recording. Recorded by Phil Brown (long-time friend and ‘live’ band mate) the album ‘ Ascension of Kings’ was released on 13 December 2014 to wide acclaim. TEN vocalist Gary Hughes engineered all the vocals for the album; and was a special guest on the album providing backing vocals. Phil Brown provided the majority of engineering for the Ascension of Kings album , whilst Treece-Birch edited the drum tracks and M. Walker and the entire band mixed the album.
AboutAlan “Spud” Taylor Alan started singing at about eight years old. Like many young musicians he would sing the chart hits of the time whilst at school and his friends would listen; captivating his friends with renditions of Elvis songs popular in the day.Alan was born into a musical family with both his Mother and Grandmother having sung in the clubs of the time and his Grandfather would play drums. Singing and performance were born to him and in his blood so to speak. He started playing guitar around the time he left school and was initially self-taught sharing his brother’s classical guitar. Many of the first tunes he learned were from his brother who was taking classical guitar lessons.
Shortly thereafter Alan purchased his first guitar, a 12-string Ibanez. He started to write songs and play in folk clubs. Teaming up for a while with the ‘Big Man’ Pete Rodger who was previously one of the ‘The Taverner’s‘ a very popular folk group during the 1970s and who played a Royal performance for Prince Charles.
1981 was a great year, Alan and Martin Walker would meet and start to write and record together using a 4-track recorder. Alan had taken up the bass in addition to singing in these early days. This friendship would evolve into a band named ‘AD’ adding Robert Stirzaker (Counterparts) on drums, Martin Walker (Nth Ascension) on guitars, Andrew Keeling (composer) on keyboards and Alan on vocals. An EP was released in 1984 which was recorded at Park Lane Studios Preesall.
In 1986 Alan met Darrel Treece-Birch (TEN and Nth Ascension) which would begin a thirty year friendship and music collaboration and the first fruits of their progressive style started to take root in the band ‘Purple on the Storm’. During this time Alan took formal voice training with the professional Tenor Lanceford Roberts.
The 1990s saw various collaborations mainly with Treece-Brich; ‘Helmwind’, ‘Order of Chaos’ and the ‘Noise Foundation’. In 2002 ‘The Field’ was formed with Martin Walker, Darrel Treece-Birch, Gavin Walker (Nth Ascension), Rob Stirzaker and Alan Allcock; after releasing their first album the band members went off to work on different projects and The Field did not record any further material.
In 2010 Alan was approached by his long-time collaborative partner Darrel Treece-Birch and asked to work on a project that Treece-Birch was involved in with Martin Walker and Craig Walker. This was the beginnings of Nth Ascension which reinvigorated and revitalized Alan’s need for live performance. Initially holding down bass duties and vocals with the band, but welcomed the addition of Gavin Walker on bass in time to record their first album Ascension of Kings in order to focus on his vocal performance.
About Craig Walker
Craig was barely old enough to walk; but his rhythmical ability was already apparent as he would play along to Queen’s ‘We will Rock You’ in perfect time. Throughout his school years he played drums in school productions and for his local church in Fleetwood.
Craig chose to study music technology in college and played in numerous bands by the time he was 18, most prominent of these was ‘Popstar Heroes’ who were known for playing anything from Metallica to Blink 182. Craig’s style was heavily influenced by the metal genre in his early years. By age 20 he found he needed more of a challenge for his creativity and found his way to progressive rock/metal. Darrel Treece-Birch his father’s long-time friend and collaborative partner introduced him to Dream Theater and a creative spark was re-ignited by the combination of technical prowess and stunning melodies that could be achieved in this genre whilst staying true to his roots in metal.
There are no coincidences in life for in 2009 Craig was asked to help out a local band whose drummer wasn’t available for a concert; this same band also was being helped by Treece-Birch. This led to the two playing together and discovering their undeniable musical chemistry. After the concert performance, Craig and Darrel decided it was time to start an original project together asking Darrel’s long time collaborators Martin Walker (Craig’s Dad) and Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor to come along to ‘see what happens’. Originally called ‘Nth Degree’, Nth Ascension was born and they went on to produce a demo recording called ‘Frequencies of Day and Night’. Shortly after, Gavin Walker (Craig’s brother) was brought into the band to take over bass duties so Alan could concentrate on his vocal performance.
About Darrel Trece-Birch
Keyboard wizard Darrel Treece-Birch started playing piano when he was seven years old. Music has always been his greatest love and passion gravitating to rock and especially progressive rock music. He has been inspired by bands such as Marillion, Yes and Genesis and joined his first band a few years later, Fleetwood based ‘Purple On the Storm’.
Over the last 25 years the band names have changed but the personnel have remained fairly constant especially with his main writing partner Alan (Spud) Taylor, guitarist Martin Walker and Counterparts drummer Rob Stirzaker. Darrel’s other projects include playing keyboards and touring with the British Melodic Rock band TEN, as well as recording and releasing solo material.
About Gavin Jon Walker
Gavin is from a musical family, together with brother Craig, grew up surrounded by the music of Martin (Dad) Walker, Darrel Treece-Birch and Alan “Spud” Taylor – some might say they were ‘pickled’ with their music from a very early age. Gavin started out with guitar but he eventually settled into the bass guitar and spent many formative years learning to play the blues and jamming often with Craig in their living room to the likes of Queen, Metallica and Nirvana. Having been raised in a musical environment long jam sessions with his brother and father was the natural progression of his exploration as a musician from learning others works to experimenting and creating his own sound and style.
In his college days Gavin was involved in the band ‘Angel Hill’ which gained some popularity locally, winning the local ‘Battle of the bands’ contest in 2000. In 2002 Gavin joined the group ‘The Field’ as a second keyboard player/percussionist. 11 years later in 2013, Gavin the latecomer to the land of “Nth” joined the band just in time to play his part on the album ‘Ascension of Kings’ and is now currently collaborating on the next Nth Ascension album with the band.
About Martin Walker Martin discovered his love for the guitar in his early teens after hearing the Dave Edmunds’ track ‘Sabre Dance’. It was Jimi Hendrix playing ‘Voodoo Chile’ that sent Martin on a lifelong quest to discover “awesome noises created by the electric guitar”.
According to Martin; following the usual school and college band-failed attempts of world domination he eventually settled into more realistic projects, namely a band called ‘Inheritance’ which eventually morphed into ‘Thruaglas Darkly’. Thruaglas Darkly went on to release the single ‘Modern Man’ but disbanded before further planned projects could be completed.
During this time Martin would fortuitously meet Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor and together with a few former Thruaglas Darkly members played together as ‘AD’ for a season, it was at this time he was introduced to keyboard player Darrel Treece-Birch.
Once AD satisfactorily concluded Martin withdrew to a few small projects one of which was joining again with Alan and Darrel together with Rob Stirzaker, Alan Allcock and his eldest son Gavin Walker to play as ‘The Field’ who went on to do a few gigs as well as release their self-titled album The Field. It was basically a live recording which captured the energy of the band for whoever desired to listen. This project concluded and Martin continued working on a few solo ideas until asked to join his son Craig, together once again, with friends Darrel and Alan. Initially it was a get together just to play for the fun of it; the music genre we all loved. This quite quickly became more than the ‘knock about’ it was intended to be and with the addition of his other son, Gavin Walker the group evolved into Nth Ascension.
2016 Nth Ascension have returned with their Criticly Acclaimed album, In Fine Initium; heavier guitars, a tighter rhythm section with quick time-signature acrobatics and long sweeping keyboard passages and vocals that reach into your soul with their power and compassion; culminating in an album that is truly worthy of praise.
Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor – Vocals Darrel Treece-Birch – Keyboards Craig Walker – Drums & Percussion Gavin Walker – Bass Martin Walker – Guitars
Nth Ascension have returned with their sophomore album, In Fine Initium; Heavier guitars, a tighter rhythm section with quick time-signature acrobatics and long sweeping keyboard passages and vocals that reach into your soul with their power and compassion; culminating in an album that is truly worthy of praise.
Even before its release the critics have had a chance to review the album, here is what they are saying:
For sure, this one is one of the most diverse and kinda of ‘difficult’ records that I’ve heard this year. It’s an album that features beautiful melodies, harmonies, a strong progressive and poetic vibe, excellent performances and a tight musicianship. The fans of the classic rock/progressive sound should do a favor to their selves and check out this little gem. Rating : 9/10 – Heavy Paradise.
In conclusion we would say that this is the best progressive album of 2016 and has already taken place in my list of the best albums of the year. Enjoy responsibly – Vinylio
In Fine Initium is yet another evolution into progressive rock’s future by blending the past with the present. This album should provide for a solid set list in live settings. 4.5/5 – Power of Prog
Track Listing 1. Kingdom Keys 15:18 2. End Of Days 1:23 3. So, That Was The Apocalypse 04:42 4. The Cage 7:06 5. In Search Of The Rider (Clanaan Pt4) 07:47 6. Forever (Clanaan Pt5) 07:46 7. When The Rain Falls (Clanaan Pt6) 03:50
The album has been on pre-order since September 16 with a special CD/T-shirt bundle. For release day Nth Ascension have chosen to offer additional T-shirt designs showcasing the graphic arts talents of their bass player Gavin Walker.
UK Prog Metal Band Nth Ascension are ready to take the world by storm with their 2nd release. Its the first one via Melodic Revolution Records. The album has already received high praise from the press.
What The Press are saying. Nth Ascension present with “In fine Initium” an insanity album which hits the predecessor around wide ones. We of Radio Barbarossa award at this point more than with pleasure the full score. 5/5 – Daniel Nennstiel
In Fine Initium is yet another evolution into progressive rock’s future by blending the past with the present. This album should provide for a solid set list in live settings.
Nth Ascension’s In Fine Initium gets a 4.5/5. – Robert Brady | Power of Prog
Progressive Rock in all its glory, An album of simple quality, of dedication to the craft; In Fine Initium is the complete master in charge of your evening’s sanity and it is best to just go with the flow. Ian D. Hall – Liverpool Sound And Vision
Pre-orders Packages available in both Europe and North America:
Pre-order of In Fine Initium and you get 1 track now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.
Release Date October 14, 2016
Mix up one part Saga, the other part Triumph, another part Rush’s Moving Pictures take the voice down a little more into the area of bass and you have the modern Prog recipe for Nth Ascension. Planted first by Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor as a childhood dream and later joined in the field in 1984 with the likes of Robert Stirzaker (Counterparts) – Drums, Martin Walker (Nth Ascension) – Guitars,Andrew Keeling (composer) –Keyboards, and in 1986 Darrel Treece-Birch (TEN and Nth Ascension) – Keyboards would eventually lead to the origins of NTH Ascension in 2010.
By 2016 the current line up of Nth Ascension would be complete with Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor – Vocals , Darrel Treece-Birch – Keyboards , Craig Walker – Drums & Percussion , Gav Walker – Bass , Martin Walker – Guitars. This line up is full of long progressive atmospheric compositions and instrumentally technical prowess. The band ranges from traditional progressive rock of the 1960’s – 1970’s with the neo-progressive sensibilities of the 1980’s and the more electronic and technical elements of the 1990’s – 2000’s. However what the separating factor is with Nth Ascension compared to their peers and contemporaries is the lower than normal vocal register of its leader Alan’Spud’ Taylor. His vocal register has a little of Michael Sadler (Saga), Matt Barlow, (Iced Earth) with a twist of the legendary John Wetton (King Crimson), this makes for a very distinct vocal apart from the rest in the progressive community.
Nth Ascension have returned with their second album In Fine Initium and are officially making their Melodic Revolution Records debut as well. In Fine Initium’s sound, I believe, is a look into progressive rock’s future by using well established progressive rock and metal staples. You know that power progressive rock, slightly heavy melodic metal. I admire the fact that Nth Ascension can not be pigeonholed nor typecast into a solid particular genre. They are the type of band with the appeal to reach a little bit of everyone within the progressive rock or even classic rock communities.
The album opens up with a explosive epic in Kingdom Keys.
Kingdom Keys opens almost like that of a film score or movie soundtrack with every instrument in harmony with one another to make a bold passage. The band comes out firing on all pistons here. Soon there is a break in the music and the warm vocals come into play. At around the 4:00 mark the track goes through various time signatures and identity that gives the band their unique progressive sound. With thunderous rhythm section on top of a deep symphonic keyboard and guitar stringed section that gives the song two different sides, Kingdom Keys certainly is a great foundation track to begin the album with. On the way towards the end there is a semi spoken word section which the band double tracks. It is a nice bridge keeping the song going.
End Of Days begins with a heavy brooding atmosphere created out of the fingers of Darrel Treece Birch. Soon a traditional straight away progressive hard rock track emerges to open the track up more. Like Kingdom Keys, End Of Days has a very movie soundtrack style to it. On top of the heavy keyboard there is a very deep tuned down feel to the rhythm section. Lyrically it is a song of redemption and positivity About the 4:30 mark the track goes through time signatures that also serve as mood changers for the objective listener. The 4:00 outro takes the listener from the summits of the stringed section to the valleys of the rhythm section equally and at times concurrent to one another.
So, That Was The Apocalypse is a instrumental track. It consists of deep rhythm sections with a flair of vintage progressive rock Hammond style organ. This sounds like old school Bad Company and Foghat meets Yes. It has both the straight up classic rock vibe with progressive elements and standards. This serves as a perfect bridge track for The Cage.
The Cage starts with a beautiful piano intro that is quickly joined by both drums and bass in the rhythm section. The guitar comes in to give the track a added atmospheric passage. Soon all instruments lead into the open lyrical verse and the band sounds like a well oiled machine at this point. The Cage is ‘The Epic’ on the album. This is a true roller coaster of the audio senses as it goes in and out of explosive rock passages met with a taste of ballad. Especially at the 5:00 mark where the track takes on layer upon layer of various atmospheres between the keyboard and bass and cymbals. The vocal takes on a David Bowie ‘Space Oddity’ style during this time. Around the 7:00 mark the instrumental takes various curves along the rhythmic highway with neo-progressive road signs with the various chord progressions and time signatures employed by the band. The instrumental rhythm sections are practically AOR/melodic metal in their very nature.
In Search Of The Rider (Clanaan Part 4) picking up where Nth Ascension’s first album Ascension of Kings, In Search of The Rider (Clanaan Part 4) is a epic song that will span over several albums much like Dream Theater did with the Bill W. AA Suite over several albums. The band does a excellent job picking up in the continuation of this story. This also is a very good middle track in that it feels like more of a transitional track towards a much bigger portion to the epic. This also serves as the perfect ‘batton-track‘ in that In Fine Initium continues the story appropriately where Ascension of Kings left off.
Forever (Clanaan Part 5) continues the epic journey with a great rhythm drum fill and a lush atmospheric keyboard passage. The guitar work borders along the lines of Pink Floyd meets Saga. This track is very well balance and also serves as a bridge track within the greater picture of the epic that is Clanaan as a collective. This track has a lot of modern progressive elements as well.
When The Rainfalls (Clanaan Part 6) is the paradox, it both ends the album and continues the ongoing story of Clanaan. This is a lush semi electric guitar track met with warm vocals much like a full ballad.
Nth Ascension have sure opened up more possibility of how progressive rock and music in general sounds. In Fine Initium is yet another evolution into progressive rock’s future by blending the past with the present. This album should provide for a solid set list in live settings. Nth Ascension’s In Fine Initium gets a 4.5/5.
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