With bands like Ascending Dawn it is easy to see the link between metal and classical music. Their music captures the same scope and grandeur, the same theatricality and dynamics that defined the biggest and most intricate end of symphonic composers such as Beethoven and Wagner. Sitting somewhere between progressive rock and technical metal, they paint widescreen musical pictures which wander between big rock sounds and more ambient interludes, between vibrant sonic oil paintings and more minimal water colour washes.
Metal often falls into very cliched camps, the growling, shouty bluster of the new breed and the classic and dated sound of the old-school, thankfully Ascending Dawn remind us that there is another way. It is one which matches power against deft musicality, structurally interesting meanderings with tight and exacting music skills, soaring vocals with soothing melodies. Maybe it is music born of contradictions, maybe it is just better thought out than most of its contemporaries, maybe they are just really good at their job. It doesn’t really matter which is true (I suspect all are true) as long as they keep doing it.