• 7/10
    ASCENSION THEORY - Answers - 7/10


Nightmare Records
Release date: February 21, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

The band Ascension Theory is the brainchild-recording project (a.k.a. side project) for ex-Aztec Jade bandmates Tim Becker and Leon Ozug whom appear to originate from the USA’s upper Eastern Coast area. Answers represents the duo’s second release under the Ascension Theory moniker, but for this go around they brought in a real drummer as opposed to the programmed drums on the debut. Tim’s High School buddy, Chad Lenig, was called upon to handle the drum kit. This turned out to be a lucrative relationship as Chad also handled engineering and production of the new release, as well as providing the studio to record it.

The band lumps themselves into two somewhat similar groups, as the CD tags them as “Melodic Progressive Metal” and their MySpace site labels them as “Cinematic Progressive Metal.” Answers comes across as less “cinematic” as opposed to the more “Electronica”-infused debut. Answers also comes off less “Metal,” in some regards, and more Melodic in others, especially when it comes to the occasional Pop sensibilities of the vocals, particularly of Ozug and guest female singer Beverly Luse.

The album opener, “Passion Of My Heart,” starts of with airy keyboards that meld into a Modern Metal-sounding, almost Tool-inspired riff by Ozug (one of his cited influences by the way). The Ozug sung multi-tracked chorus will get its hook into most listeners and should make this track one of the band’s most popular (if iTunes is any indication, their rating system deems this track as currently the most popular Ascension Theory track of both albums).

The second track, “Lockstep,” has the same infectious vocal characteristics, albeit having a less prominent guitar riff. The Tool comparisons are hard to avoid, especially when tracks like “Perfect Plan” and the popular “Saturn’s Reign” start off with strong, bobbing mid-bass lines with a heavy guitar riff that delivers a perfect one-two combo that sounds vaguely familiar, yet remains appealing. Another winner includes the infectious “The Way Of Death,” which has a catchy riff and softly sung chorus by Beverly Luse. The song writing here does a good job, thankfully, in making use of a female vocalist in a heavy setting, while staying away from any territory previously tread by the likes of such bands as Evanscence.

The production bears mentioning, especially the drums, as the CD has an airy feel to it. For instance, the drums almost sound like they were recorded in front of a set of microphones versus being individually mic’ed, and consequently lose some of their “oomph” (yes, an industry standard “term”).

Bottom line, Answers is a tough one to put a strict label on, and in today’s age of mass-produced music, that isn’t a terrible thing. It’s not your standard Progressive music and not typical Metal. It lies somewhere in the middle, deriving the best of both genres and adding an extra dash of Melodic. It might take a few listens to gain its hold, but on repeated spins, listeners should gain more and more appreciation for the quality music within! Enjoy this one while it lasts, as a follow-up is speculative since the band is focusing on their full-time projects … of course you can leave your sentiments about a follow-up on their MySpace site.


Leon Ozug – Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Tim Becker – Keyboards
Chad Lenig – Drums

Beverly Luse, A.J. Simiele, Mike Miseno – Additional Vocals


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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