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Ark Ascent: Downfall
Ark Ascent - Downfall Music Review

Ark Ascent: Downfall

Melodic Progressive Metal
4.0/5.0

In his last teen year, composer and multi-instrumentalist Jack Kirby (not to be confused with legendary comic book artist) created Ark Ascent, an evolving progressive metal band. Evolving is to say that Kirby has taken eight years to write and record his songs and recruit band members for his debut album, Downfall. Very early on he brought in former Shadowkeep vocalist Rogue Marechal. A few years later, DGM's Andrea Arcangeli was invited to play the bass parts. This threesome became the core of the final recording of Downfall. Drummer Michael Brush from Sirenia became the last and final member in the fold.

Ark Ascent - Click For Larger Image

Ark Ascent

To start, Downfall is a concept album which follows "the fate of humankind at the onset of a major disaster that will eventually lead to its destruction." Well. That's rather grim.

Musically, in his compositions, Kirby mixes a variety ingredients for his progressive metal concoction. Grounded in traditional heavy and power metal, Ark Ascent songs offer brisk riffage, thrilling guitar solos, synth embellishment and orchestration, and more than a few twists and turns in tempo and time signatures. Aside from often being heavy and fast, many of the arrangements have a very dense feeling, notably from Kirby's swollen riffage, yet also the keyboard saturation.

Throughout the album, I was impressed with Kirby's compositional skill, but also his guitar solos which are creative and energetic throughout the album. With some songs, such as Sanctuary and The Aftermath, Kirby offers both synth and guitar solos in tandem. Additionally, you'll hear some interesting light segues for transitions such as the piano and voice duet of Farewell. Then there's the acoustic guitar and symphonic synths of Ascension which blend into the voice and acoustic guitar for the rising metal anthem Innocence Lost.

All said, Jack Kirby and Ark Ascent's Downfall is an engaging and entertaining melodic progressive metal album, deserving of several spins to catch the nuances within. Recommended.


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The Bottom Line

Jack Kirby and Ark Ascent's Downfall is an engaging and entertaining melodic progressive metal album, deserving of several spins to catch the nuances within. Recommended.

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