Written by: Abby Baracskai (3/06/2017)
When We As Human split back in January of 2016, remaining members Jake Jones and Justin Forshaw joined forces with producer Robert Venable to form As We Ascend who has created one of the best Christian rock albums this year. The entire album is packed with raw emotions that stem from real world events that have happened to the band, killer guitar riffs, heavy screams and growls, and just good sounding rock music. It’s an album of transparency and is strictly for God’s glory and the fans. In fact, the guys funded the project through Pledge Music and raised 115% of their goal from fans and supporters backing the project. Then, they took it a step farther and anyone who pledged over $50 was involved in the album making process: hearing demos, giving feedback, debating album artwork and t-shirt designs, photo-shoot pictures, and featuring fan vocals on a track. The entire process of making this album is something so unique and so special, you can’t help but appreciate these guys’ hearts, which you get to hear through the lyrics of every song.
The band released their single “Wash Away” back in October of 2016. The song quickly began to rise on Christian Rock Most Added Billboard charts and continues to stand firmly on Christian Rock National Airplay Billboard charts as well. The song hit #1 on ChristianRock.net’s Top 30 Songs of the Week back in December. It’s clear to see these guys are hitting the ground running and quickly picking up momentum. This single only gives you a small glimpse of the musical brilliance awaiting you on the rest of the album.
The album bursts through the door right as you hit play with Hatchet. The song features strong persistent guitars and pounding drums that make you start to head bang without even thinking about it. It’s a pretty relatable song that talks about the damage that people are able to do to one another through backstabbing.
One of my absolute favorite songs, musically and lyrically, shows up as track number four: Tell Me. The track opens with a simple electronic beat paired with one clash that plays every first beat. Drums enter with the lyrics. Although nothing has necessarily been confirmed about the song, it’s pretty clear to see it’s about the breakup of We As Human and the shattered friendship with their lead singer. Having a pretty good relationship with the band, going to multiple shows, running their fanpages, and working along side them, this song helped to give me closure with losing my favorite band. I love to turn it up all the way and sing my heart out. I can imagine it was therapeutic for them to write as well. The song also features a really nice guitar solo that connects the bridge nicely with the rest of the song.
Another song I have to mention is When the Gun Goes. It’s definitely one of the harder tracks on the album and promotes the use of growls and heavy guitars and drums. It’s speculated that this song is about Jake’s dad’s passing in 2016. It’s raw, it’s rocking, and all around amazing. There’s a slight break in the heaviness with lighter vocals that alludes to peace and hope that is just beautiful. There are so many small details in the song like the sound of loading a gun, pulling the trigger, vocal ranges from whispers to all out screams, that really make this song a masterpiece.
Another break in the harder rock feel is found in End of Me, which also has a spotlight feature with Zach Myers from the band Shinedown. His skills pull together the song and make for a nice guitar solo. I don’t know how to explain it, but the song opens with a sassy electronic beat followed by clapping drums that takes you by surprise. It talks about it being the end of the old you and having a fire ignited in you to be better than before. It’s a great listen and super easy to sing along with.
Finally, the album closes with At My Door, which has a spotlight feature on Brad Arnold from the band 3 Doors Down. This song has a slowed acoustic guitar melody. I have to admit that I can’t really listen to this song right now because it’s extremely emotional and talks about death. Since I recently lost my mom to cancer, I don’t handle that topic well and don’t particularly like the feeling in your stomach you get when you hear a song and just know it’s going to be sad. I will say it’s beautifully composed and executed, it’s just extremely difficult to listen to and makes my heart hurt.
“Farewell to Midnight” is like the band members shoved themselves through a wringer and put every ounce of emotion into each and every word. Although the project is completely different than their past with We As Human, it’s a step forward in the journey of As We Ascend. I hope to see much, much more from these fellows and highly advise you to purchase this album and rock out to it. You won’t be sorry. And if you’re a fan of the band, follow The Ascenders on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the fan community!
Released: March 17, 2017
- Hatchet (3:49)
- My Ghost (3:37)
- Expendable (3:19)
- Tell Me (3:34)
- When the Gun Goes (3:34)
- Insulate (4:05)
- End of Me (Featuring Zach Myers of Shinedown) (3:37)
- Watch the World Burn (3:44)
- We Fight (3:38)
- Wash Away (3:42)
- At My Door (Featuring Brad Arnold of 3 Doors Down) (5:05)
11 Tracks, 39:44
Buy on iTunes
More from As We Ascend:
- Farewell to Midnight (2017)
Links for As We Ascend: