Sound — 8
It often happens that the new projects of the famous musicians are nothing like their previous bands. Ascension of the Watchers, the new-born baby of John Bechdel (Killing Joke, Ministry) and Burton C.Bell (Fear Factory) is no exception. On their debut album Numinosum the guys decided to try something new. The fact that this is something very far from the straight-forward rock type of music is obvious when you only see the album cover -- it takes you a few moments to read the name of the band and then even more moments to guess the album title. The record was created in the middle of the woods of rural Pennsylvania in the late hour of mid winter and it certainly gave that wild folk mood to the music. It seems like Bell got tired of violent guitars, so soft piano and strings dominate here. Due to Bechdel's love to keyboards and electronics, there is a wide range of different sounds on the CD. Different melodies are laid one on another, which makes the songs rich in sounding. At times it is so ambitious that can even be called orchestral. The songs are very melodic, switching from mellow to progressive. Most of the tracks are not radio-friendly first of all because they last for more than 5 minutes and are not quite intense to get a regular listener interested. AOTW even allow themselves to make a 10-minutes track, calling it Quintessence. Quintessence seems to be combined of several tracks, laid one upon another with melodies not always matching each other. The guys made a cover for Simon And Garfunkel song Sounds Of Silence, of course in their own style. It sounds totally different from the original -- ethereal and ambient with choral vocals. Acoustic Violent Morning sounds like a lullaby, being filled with soft and peaceful sounds, at the same time it could be the song to wake up with.
Lyrics — 7
Writing the poetry to his songs, Bell tried to explore the true nature of his soul. He found the inspiration in the Book of Enoch, relating himself to the story. The lyrics are about the desires and losses and if you wish, you can find some very deep meaning hidden in simple words. Bell's vocals are the only thing that would remind you about Fear Factory. He was never singing in a typical metal manner and that fact let him keep this seal in the new project.
Overall Impression — 8
The album hypnotize and put the listener in meditative mood. It is full of hints to lead you through the journey -- like the sound of the beating heart in the opening track and the sound of the train at the end. The CD was released on Al Jourgensen's 13th Planet Records and the musicians felt themselves very comfortable working with this label. The album keeps that feeling of no art boundaries, it's obvious that writing the record the artists didn't think of the commercial part of it. Thus it is a hard piece to be understood by non-sophisticated listeners. But those who have patience to listen to the end and knowledge to understand, will truly appreciate this work.