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Ian Toomey - 'Ascension'

posted 23 Nov 2015, 07:21 by Paul Woodward

(Metal Nation)

Review by Woody

If you’re a fan of old school NWOBHM you’ll know Bitches Sin and of course their lead guitarist Ian Toomey and ‘Ascension’ is his debut solo album.  A lot of passion and thought has gone into the writing and recording of this album and that does shine through as you’re listening to it. Toomey also says that much of the album is deeply personal to him with many of the tracks been autobiographical in nature which adds a lot of intrigue as you listen to it through for the first time.

It’s a genre crossing album too as while there is a strong NWOBHM feel across the album with a couple tunes feeling like they just arrived via time machine but there is a strong classic rock vibe too. Some of this is down to the vocals of David A Mills who brings a little bit of blues gravel to the mix and his vocal’s are not stereotypical of what you’d expect from you’re average NWOBHM band. But it’s not just the vocals some of the music has strong swaggering blues riffs and evokes similarity’s with seventies blues based hard rock bands. Also sometimes when the two styles are mixed they create an impressive and intriguing sound which should widen the appeal of ‘Ascension’ outside of Toomey’s established NWOBHM fan base.

The way the album is recorded and sounds is quite intriguing too, the production makes it sound at times like a NWOBHM album recorded in the early eighties which actually accentuates the impact of certain tracks and on the more classic rock numbers a seventies style recording. So that retro feel is sure to appeal to older fans that yearn for that style of production which takes them back in time or indeed adds that little bit of magic they associate with musicians like Toomey.

The title track ‘Ascension’ has an epic feel too and has an atmospheric feel that really gives the song a real impact. Toomey says this song is about a near death experience and with that in mind the song does have a strong ethereal feel to it. The album isn’t all deep and meaningful as the wonderfully fun and energetic ‘Superman’ proves, this one is an out and out NWOBHM track and is really enjoyable and its killer chorus will get stuck in your head for days, it’s a smile inducing number to rock out to.

It’s a pretty damn fine debut album although when you consider the experience and pedigree of Toomey that should have been obvious from the outset. Fans of NWOBHM and Classic Rock collectively should thoroughly enjoy this album and its mixed flavours!

Track Listing: Almost & Always / Bad Blood / Superman / Very Soon Everyone’s Leaving / Never Alone / Survivor / Hedonistic Daze / Ascension

Album Rating: 7/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Superman