As We Ascend’s debut album was met on March 17th with baited breath and high expectations. With the shadow of We As Human’s success and demise hanging closely over the project I as a listener, was not sure what I would be hearing. I did have several expectations from the band. The first was that I was looking for lyrical prowess. This is mostly because of what I was accustomed to with We As Human, but also because of who this team of musicians consists of. The second was solid production on the project. Jake Jones, whose role in AWA was expanded to include vocals as well as guitar, is known both in and outside of rock music for his production skills. In my mind, that should translate into an album that has a clean cut and clear audio quality. Finally, I was expecting that signature rock sound. Music that makes me want to jump up and down, and allow me to think that I could take on the world after listening. So, how did they do?
Lyrically, the project had a ton of emotions to unpack for itself. What I did not take into consideration before listening was with all that happened with the previous project, there would be some reckoning in the new one. Once I understood that, I had to wait to see how it would be addressed. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting. Maybe a drawn out rock ballad about how one person’s actions brought down the band? A piano’s lament on lost opportunities? What about a drum driven melody about ascending from the ashes? All of these things would have been completely acceptable given the circumstances, but none of those things is what they did. The most lyrically impacting song on this entire project has to go to “Tell Me”. It addressed all of the members questions, and despite not being able to get answers, lent the last thing that would be on most people’s minds which was forgiveness. It was the sign of closure that I think everyone needed to move on and start over.
The production on the track was just as I expected it to be, solid. What was even cooler was the time line that the album came out on. It was not even a full year since the end of We As Human, to the release of Farewell to Midnight. The recording process that takes some bands years to complete, took them only a few short months. While this could mean that the quality of the project suffers, this was not the case with As We Ascend. The production and instrumentation was phenomenal and clean, which is especially tricky with this type of music. Overall a job well done.
Finally the signature rock sound. It was definitely there, but not in the way that I was expecting. There comes a point where you have to associating old projects with a new band. As We Ascend is not We As Human for many other reasons other than the line up change. It is therefore unfair to expect the same sound or style. Now is that a bad thing? Absolutely not! As We Ascend brings a unique and different style to the music world. This may be seen as disappointing to some fans, and a short coming to others, but for me it shows an abundance of versatility in the musicians. It’s commendable even and I love this album for it. Long story short, if you are looking for a continuation of We As Human, stop. You won’t find that here. If you are looking for something new and growing however, look no further than As We Ascend and their release Farewell to Midnight