Ark Ascent are a UK based prog metal band, formed in 2011 by main man Jack Kirby who was 19 at the time.
The Ark Ascent project was originally known as Prophecy but evolved into its current form over time and are now proud to finally release their debut album, Downfall.
Joining guitarist/keyboardist Kirby are Rogue Marechal (quality prog name and formerly of Shadowkeep) on vocals, Andre Arcangeli on bass (also in Italian band DGM) and Michael Brush on drums (also in Sirenia).
Out on September 27, 2019, on Ascent Records Downfall has all the trademarks of a modern prog metal offering. Keyboards are prominent and driving whilst the guitar work is sharp and concise, which creates a great balance.
The subject matter is also very modern, dealing with the self-destruction of humankind, a popular current topic amongst songwriters.
Marechal’s vocals are quite smooth but have the power to get the point across, in an almost John Wetton (Asia) way and fit the band’s style perfectly.
Downfall has variety in abundance, from the atmospheric instrumentals “Arrival” and “Ascension” through to almost power metal tracks such as “Point of No Return” and “Darkest Hour”. There are also moody tracks in “Innocence Lost” and the short and sweet “Farewell”.
Unlike 1970s prog there are not any overlong crawling-up-its-own-arse wankfests, such as Emerson Lake and Palmer’s Tarkus, which is a prime example. The longest track we have is album closer “The End of Time” clocking in at 13 minutes, but there’s no self-indulgence here.
Prog comes in a few different guises and Ark Ascent come in at the more commercial end of the scale, which is no bad thing.
If you like melody, sweeping keyboards and intricate solos, topped off with striking vocals then Downfall is the one for you.