AMG EXPERT REVIEW: When this Santa Barbara-based goth quintet hit the scene in 1989, the Mission was on its last legs, Robert Smith and the Cure were heading into pop music's mainstream or at least making their first attempt and the Sisters of Mercy had been ashes for nearly five years. Needless to say, This Ascension took the American gothic underground by storm with their trademark blend of stinging guitar pyrotechnics courtesy of Kevin Serra and ethereal keyboard washes wrapping around vocalist Dru's multi-octave, multi-syllabic swirl. This reissue of the band's first-ever outing is a welcome one; it returns one of the rightful entries in the underground darkwave catalog to its rightful and prominent place on the shelf next to mid-period Siouxise and the Banshees, the Cure, Sisters of Mercy, X-Mail Deutschland, the Mission, Dead Can Dance, and so on. Since it went out of print, the disc had become a cipher, a myth, a disappearing scrawl in the sand for fans of the genre, and traded hands in many multi-generation cassettes. The CD master is pristine in its sonic quality, having been completely remastered and lovingly packaged. Serra proved to be the glue in the mix with his hard rock leanings restrained by the various nuances and textures of goth rock riffing. He's forever in the pocket of the riff, but just barely, pushing his singer out onto the ledge of what her voice can handle. This Ascension pushes the genre envelope to the border of the hard rock wall and cascades over it in songs like "Groove," "Just Assassin," and "Megan." The entwined pairing of Dru and Serra's six-string majesty makes for an absolutely intoxicating blend of seductive, lush, and barely controlled emotion, dark as it is. As evidenced by Tears in Rain, This Ascension are a welcome if under-mentioned addition to the darkwave hall of fame. Thom Jurek
This Ascension is to me one of the groups that have helped define what Gothic Rock and Gothic Ethereal music is today. They've been around for quite a few years now and have been quite successful with four albums and various compilation appearances. Well, the journey is far from over for this group with more to come. Formed in 1988 with the idea to play and release their music, they released the album Tears in Rain
just five months after forming. They later released Light and Shade
which is more relaxed, ethereal work that has been very popular over the years. Again they released two more albums Walk Softly, a Dream Lies Here
and finally, four years later, Sever
All of the above albums were released on Tess Records, one of the great Gothic Rock labels during the 90's. Unfortunately, as many people have heard over the past few months, Tess Records no longer exists. Despite this sad news, we have good news for This Ascension fans, and especially for those that may have missed this band the first time around. Projekt Records have signed This Ascension and have already re-released their first two albums...
Tears in Rain. With a hard-driving Gothic Rock sound that blends with the lush atmospheric elements of Gothic Ethereal music, This Ascension's first album is an excellent musical collage. Beginning with Intro that builds in intensity and prepares you for the harsh journey you're about to embark on for the rest of the album. Released in 1988, their debut could very well be described as their harshest work. It certainly doesn't lack any intensity and would make any die-hard Gothic Rock fan swoon. Isabella is probably the most popular track (at least the one that I heard the most from this album) and has nothing lacking in that harsh, ethereal sound. That almost sounds like a contradiction in terms, but somehow these talented musicians pull it off. Maybe it's their extensive use of guitars and a driving beat mixed with Dru's beautiful vocals. Or maybe it's just the magic that exists in this musical genre in general. The entire album keeps the intensity up and won't leave you disappointed. This is a special treat that Projekt has released this very rare (probably mostly out of print) work of art. If you didn't pick this up the first time around, don't miss it now!