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Review: Ascension - Under the Veil of Madness
Under the Veil of Madness

Label: Independent
Year released: 2023
Duration: 59:26
Tracks: 10
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: April 14, 2023
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Under the Veil of Madness

Rated 2.67/5 (53.33%) (3 Votes)

Under the Veil of Madness is the second full-length from long-running UK band Ascension and, like their debut, features a lot of superfast power metal that is, at least on the surface, in the Dragonforce and Power Quest mold. Opening track "Sayonara" could easily be from any of the first three Dragonforce albums as it is a spot-on homage from the high vocals, catchy chorus, and melodic, Nintendo-esque keys down to the exact same Li/Totman guitar sound, fretboard runs and squeals. There are many other songs on the album in that same vein but there are also streaks of humor and adventure running through Ascension's songwriting. Take for example the ragtime melodies in the middle of "Megalomaniac" which had me thinking of Edguy or "Under the Veil of Madness" which features varied vocals and storytelling reminiscent of Pink Floyd's "The Trial" from The Wall. Other songs are engaging in ways that don't often resonate with me, specifically the lyrics, yet on "Defiance" and "Monsters," I'm so sucked in by how the band has the protagonists communicate that I find myself trying to parse out more of what is being said. Even though I'm not typically a "lyrics first" kind of fan, I enjoy them when they are interesting and that happens a lot when I listen to this album. While Under the Veil of Madness is undoubtedly an unabashed celebration of speed, I think the songwriting is much more varied and frankly better than you typically get with this type of power metal and that lifts it above its peers.

Other related information on the site
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