Today marks the official unveiling of Apocrypha, the anticipated new full-length from industrial gothic rock outfit, ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS.
Born of life, love, and spirituality, ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS is comprised of pioneering vocalist Burton C. Bell, John Bechdel, and Jayce Lewis. Bell’s unmistakable, harmonious inventory once renowned in one of metal’s finest trailblazing acts has brought life to a new concept, a genre of its own: ambient atmospheres, melodies, and introspective lyrics that shed light of Bell’s visions, as seen in their purest form. An intimate nature that ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS envisioned, to draw the minds, hearts, and aspirations of a people to a higher level of thinking to a feeling with cohesive celebration and reflection in the beauty of existence.
Apocrypha is out now via Dissonance Productions. For physical orders in North America go to THIS LOCATION and for European orders, go HERE. Find digital ordering/streaming options HERE and HERE.
View ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS’ videos for “The End Is Always The Beginning” HERE and “Ghost Heart” at THIS LOCATION.
The story of ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS:
In early 2002, Burton C. Bell retreated to the quiet, simplicity of rural Pennsylvania for seven months with his friend and musical confidant John Bechdel, escaping the onslaught of Los Angeles, and industry alike. A mentor in music, philosophy, and demeanor, Bechdel unwittingly guided Bell along the creative path of this new conceptual movement.
With Burton’s unprecedented vocal sound and style, coupled with the brilliantly orchestrated musical compositions of both Bell and Bechdel (synonymous with pioneering tags to the industrial/metal genre), the pair began experimenting with textured melodies of melancholic tones, best attributed to the ’80s and ’90s underground scene. ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS echoes the sounds of a prophetic hallucination, fears, and dreams with remorse of things lost and forgotten; but with a hope of redemption and light in the future.
In 2004, ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS independently released Iconoclast, printed only on CD and vinyl to a limited number. In 2008, with the help of Bechdel and Paul Raven (RIP), Burton brought ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS to Ministry legend Al Jourgensen’s label, 13th Planet. With guidance and special collaborations with Jourgensen during the recording and mixing in El Paso, Texas, the band added the guitar talents of Eduardo Mussi.
Later that year, ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS‘ debut LP, Numinosum, was released through 13th Planet. The recording featured Paul Raven’s last contribution as a bass player on the track “Mars Becoming.” Upon release, the band performed special, intimate shows, including an album release performance at Alex Grey’s Chapel Of Sacred Mirrors in New York. They also had the honor of supporting Killing Joke for their reunion tour in honor of their fallen friend, Paul Raven.
In 2017, the friendship between renowned UK solo artist Jayce Lewis and Burton brought in the essential camaraderie, talents, and studio that perfectly suited the recording of Apocrypha. Northstone Studios, based in the countryside of South Wales, connected to the two-hundred-fifty-year-old Court Colman Manor, was built by Lewis’ own hands using the ancient stones of the monastery that once stood there. The rustic detail proved a perfect setting for Lewis to record, produce, and mix the Apocrypha album. It was a recording process that literally stirred the souls that remain within the stone walls of Northstone. During the vocal recordings of the title track, a recording was inadvertently captured from the aether; an eerie, unrecognizable, and untranslatable, syllabic phrase whispered within the vocal booth. The event is now the intro to the title track, “Apocrypha.”
In truth, the making of Apocrypha has been a decade long journey of writing and recording, from California, Pennsylvania, New York, and Wales. In 2018, the band decided to utilize the crowdfunding platform PledgeMusic to jumpstart the project. After a highly successful campaign, raising 124% of their goal, PledgeMusic went into administration, eventually declaring bankruptcy and in turn, would never release any of the funds dedicated to ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS. Nevertheless, the band persevered to complete the album.
After ten years of writing and recording, along with reflection on the very personal nature of this project, ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS will renew its journey in 2020 with the culmination of the long-awaited Apocrypha. With plans of conceptualized touring, the band continues to grow as Bell’s main creative endeavor, well into the future.
“…a soulful journey that has enough heaviness to satisfy metal fans but still works mostly off of a more atmospheric and gothic flavor packed with a genuine sense of longing and reflection. A must for fans of Bell’s clean vocals, or those seeking an emotional release that’s ripe for introspection.” – Dead Rhetoric
“…a poignant exercise in ambient, cinematic, well-crafted song textures that will conjure wistful, somber and self-reflective excitation. Apocrypha is an immense document for the aural senses.” – Sea Of Tranquility
“…an immersivity fascinating listen…” – Metal Temple
“….a gothic post-rock epic… An album that is ultimately worth the wait; the end result is crushing but in a far different capacity than anything Bell is typically synonymous with.” – Rock ‘N’ Roll Fables
“While Apocrypha may ooze familiarity and harbor enough callouts to fill a hefty bibliography, it never feels like another bastardized musical hijack. Featuring a lineup, most of whom had a part to play in creating its sound, ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS sound comfortable and at home on Apocrypha which is expertly executed. Delivered with a sideways glance at ’80s goth, if colorful ambience and melody hold court here, there’s still some genuine grit behind the glitter.” – Metal Wani
“As someone who has spent most of his life hearing Burton C. Bell as the vocalist of Fear Factory, it is nice to hear him in such a different capacity. Still capable of delivering massive and soul-quenching highs while take a more relaxed approach.” – Gbhbl.com
“…every bit the peculiar, beautiful, and diverse release I hoped it would be… There is an undeniable sense of meaning, philosophy, introspection, and emotion that pervades the entire experience…” – The Prog Mind
“Apocrypha is encased in atmosphere with introspective lyrics that will inspire a sense of awe and take minds to a higher plane of thinking.” – Heavy Music Headquarters
|ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS – “The End Is Always The Beginning” (Official)
|ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS – “Ghost Heart” (Official Video)
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