Album Review: Ascension Of The Watchers – Apocrypha (Dissonance Records)

These are the sounds that resonate through my mind…
These are the words that I speak in my dreams…
These are the visions I experience, throughout my unconsciousness…

– Burton C. Bell

Ascension of the Watchers the ‘’soul without the machine’’… A creative and innovative journey of pioneering vocalist Burton C. Bell. After ten years of writing and recording, along with reflection on the very personal nature of this project, Ascension of The Watchers will renew its journey in 2020! With the culmination of the long awaited release – Apocrypha. It will be released on October 9th 2020 via Dissonance Records.

There’s a dissonance and dream-like quality to the opening track, Ghost Heart. Driven by the effects that have a computerised quality to them without them coming across obnoxious. This, alongside a strong but measured vocal performance and rockier burst of guitars, makes for a solid start.

Hand in hand, the journey is only getting started. As The End is Always the Beginning and the title track builds on Ascension of the Watcher’s rich and vast soundscape. Here, it becomes clear that each part of this epic album is a singular epic in itself. Part of a much larger beast while also being a standalone listen too.

Let’s make something clear though. This ain’t a metal album so if you’re expecting that, you might find yourself sorely disappointed. A Wolf Interlude serves as a good example of this. The symphonic layering, the echoes of guitar, sombre drum beat and disconnected vocals make for a challenging listen.

Talking of the vocals…

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As someone who has spent most of his life hearing Burton C. Bell as the vocalist of Fear Factory, it is nice to hear him in such a different capacity. Still capable of delivering massive and soul-quenching highs while take a more relaxed approach.

Honoré a well-thought our example of his variety, although funny enough it’s the synth effects that really do the job here.

There’s a ton to take in and there’s simply no way to fully absorb everything this album has to offer in just an handful of listens. Later tracks like Stormcrow take time to build atmosphere while also being one of the more hard-hitting heavy offerings. Key to the Cosmos lifts the mind, body and soul to great heights with one of the most feel-good efforts of the album. Bells of Perdition is a bit dark and dystopian, while Wanderers brings back the feeling of lightness.

From the latter half it’s only the tepid and forgettable Cygnus Aeon that detracts from what is a hell of a musical experience. One wrapped up with the intriguing Sign Your Name. A track with a layer of fuzz over it, as though we’re hearing it through a long-range comms device that is beginning to break up through distance.

Ascension of the Watchers – Apocrypha Full Track Listing:

1. Ghost Heart
2. The End Is Always The Beginning
3. Apocrypha
4. A Wolf Interlude
5. Honoré
6. Stormcrow
7. Cygnus Aeon
8. Key To The Cosmos
9. Bells Of Perdition
10. Wanderers
11. Sign Your Name




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Ascension Of The Watchers - Apocrypha (Dissonance Records)
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