A Skylit Drive

Rise: Ascension

Written by: TL on 07/01/2015 17:05:45

The California group A Skylit Drive is a band that has had reasonable success with keeping the name alive since emerging as one of the prime examples of myspace-famed metalcore in 2008, sustaining their presence with regular releases even through the demise of myspace and the dilution of their genre. With their fourth album "Rise" having come out in 2013 however, bassist Brian White and drummer Cory La Quay announced in October that they were walking away from the band, citing musical disagreements as their reason. With this in mind, this new release from the band, "Rise: Ascension" undeniably looks like a stopgap release, featuring all of the songs from the original "Rise" album getting an all-acoustic reworking.

Until now, A Skylit Drive have kept to a textbook metalcore approach: Heavy verses with growled vocals and melodious choruses with high pitched cleans. "Ascension" is what happens when the rhythm section and growlers are subtracted and the three remaining members - Kyle Simmons and Nick Miller on guitar and Michael Jagmin on vocals - ditch all electric instruments and re-record the tunes with good old hollow acoustic guitars at the heart of the sound instead. And to be fair, these songs work surprisingly well in their new versions. Obviously you don't get the punch to the stomach that a proper breakdown part gives, but the precise movements of the guitar parts are only more clearly heard on the acoustic guitars, and the band has done well to recreate the missing sense of dynamics with added cellos and pianos, sticking well within the analog concept. It speaks about the sturdiness of A Skylit Drive's basic songwriting, when the melodies and arrangements remain functional, because it sounds like the songs are kept pretty much note-for-note intact, yet the atmosphere is of course entirely different. An exception is "Wide Awake", which is completely robbed of its signature punch, but other songs, such as the title track "Rise" for instance, was catchy before and is catchy here, and while many are likely skeptical about Michael Jagmin's unusually high countertenor vocals, he sounds precise and in control even here in the stripped down production.

These things being said, "Rise" was an enjoyable album originally, but not a fantastic one, and ultimately it will sound like its relatively aggressive content fits the elegant acoustic mood in a rather unnatural way. Even if you didn't know, you will likely hear that these songs and these arrangements weren't originally conceived together, and it's difficult to say who exactly is meant to listen to "Ascension" past the curiousity for the experiment. You hardly come upon moments where you feel like any of the new versions are decisively better than their hard-hitting originals, and it seems logical that most people will spend limited time on "Ascension", noting that it's well done but not too different, and then resort to the original "Rise" whenever the urge to listen to its songs arise later. As a stopgap release to fulfill contractual obligations or as a curiousity for super fans then, "Ascension" could be worse, but it is unlikely to have much of an impact beyond that.


Download: Rise
For The Fans Of: Sleeping With Sirens, Our Last Night
Listen: facebook.com/ASkylitDrive

Release date 06.01.2015
Tragic Hero Records

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXX Rockfreaks.net.