With a revamped lineup and renewed energy, local rockers Ascend The Throne are set to make an immediate impact on their debut album, Rise.
There are many reasons to become a rock musician. Attention seekers crave the eyes and ears latching on to their own particular brand of hard and heavy sound, for one. Some do it for arts sake. Some for money. Some for fame. Some as an escape for loneliness or a ventilation tool, an outlet for some deep-seeded pain and trauma.
Band of Brothers
There are others, like the folks in local hard rock outfit Ascend The Throne, who do it for brotherhood and the love of the music. You can tell as much through listening through their long-awaited debut album Rise, which was released digitally this past January.
Through lineup changes and the general pains of producing and releasing a record, Rise has fermented for the better part of four years. The songs, fine tuned and refined over that time, reflect that process. “The songs themselves are built around that, the amount of stuff we’ve actually been through to get it to a complete song and to the album,” shared guitarist Charlie Carpenter. “It’s definitely been an experience.”
Carpenter is joined by bassist Tommy Greenham, guitarist Dave Saunders, returning drummer PJ Byrne and new vocalist Matt Fancy. Byrne, who returned to the band in December following a hiatus, reflected on the up-and-down nature of the album.
“We had lots of songs and lots of riffs that made the album that we’d scrap and start from scratch. It’s been a process.”
The addition of Fancy on vocals proved to be the missing ingredient for a group that has proved to be a fan favourite in the local rock scene. Joining in March of 2017, Fancy immediately cemented his stamp on the group with his own lyrics for what would be the album title track, Rise.
“We’re in a real good place now, especially with Matt, our new singer,” Carptner admits. “He brought a whole new level to the music. If it wasn’t for Matt I’m pretty sure we would even be a band. He brings a lot to the table. Our song Rise is the catalyst.”
‘You have to Be Yourself’
“After a few jam sessions we had put together this amazing song that I am so proud of melodically and lyrically,” Fancy recalled. “The lyrics are essentially telling someone that you have to be yourself, and if people don’t like it then you don’t have to deal with them. There will be people who accept you and people who don’t, no matter who you are or what you do. ‘The Rise will always be there.’”
Texturally, Ascend The Throne is a jumble of influences that marry together to become a refined and hard hitting combination that hits home for just about any lover of music with an edge.
“It’s a combination of everyone’s individual listening experience and what they take from every band that they listen to, I guess,” says Carpenter. “We throw that into me and PJ writing the base of the songs and you take everyone else’s experience and what they hear in their head and you incorporate it into that. You end up with something completely different.”
“It’s almost all done on an individual basis,” adds Greenham. “Like my bass playing, for example, I’ll listen to a lot of Nolly from Periphery. That tone and that type of sound and style of playing. I guess you can say I follow a lot of jent, progressive metal, and I try to throw that as much as I can into what they’re writing.
The songwriting, however, tends to skew on the K.I.S.S model. Produce catchy rock hooks that mom and dad and your brothers brother twice removed can sing along and find themselves addicted to for weeks after.
A Pop Structure
“When writing, I kind of try to write the songs in a pop structure,” explains Carpenter. “We like those driving verses and those wide open choruses. Choruses that are really catchy, almost like a campfire song. It’s a hook. You’re listening to it and it’s like ‘I can sing this.”
Ahead of the album release at The Rock House on March 9th, all hands are primed and ready for the next chapter in Ascend The Throne. “Rise is a great album that I put all of myself into recording,” says Fancy. “We’re a band that wants to keep moving, to keep creating.”
Rise is available digitally on all streaming platforms now. The band releases the album physically on March 9th at The Rock House in St. John’s.