Acoustics are only worth their weight when they’re truly heart-breaking. Luckily for A Skylit Drive, the accompaniment to 2013’s ‘Rise’ tugs at your heartstrings through a brave twist to their traditionally remorseless brand of post-hardcore.
Reworking an incredibly dark album into a stripped acoustic equivalent was an intensely dangerous move, which they’ve paid the price for in losing their bassist and drummer. There’s no room for passing old judgements – leave all your expectations at the door. Dispensing with their trademark screams and adjusting to a lower, subdued tempo and raw vocals, ‘Rise: Ascension’ was an inevitable move for A Skylit Drive and a step in the right direction. By no means a half-hearted acoustic cover of their most popular album to date, ‘Rise: Ascension’ is a love letter to their dedicated fan base, creating a standalone record to possibly herald a new acoustic emo approach. Nostalgia aside, this step away from the heavy drums and even heavier riffs will no doubt attract a new range of fans without alienating the die-hards for a second.
‘Crash Down’’s snappy backing vocals add deeper proximity to the intimate acoustics, while the mournful violins of ‘Crazy’ add an unexpectedly subdued aspect to the expected energy from its heavier predecessor. Unsurprisingly, the originally heartbreaking ballad ‘Just Stay’ translates the best into a softer, beautiful acoustic ethos, while ‘Pendulum’ creates a swaying lullaby with Michael Jagmin’s trademark belting vocals.
There’s a tendency to expect the band’s signature breakdowns in ‘I Enemy’ as the acoustics build into an impending crescendo, but A Skylit Drive have somewhat expertly manipulated their subject matter to suit the new subdued tones of the acoustic. The sinister serenity of ‘Shadows’’ “but if one of us has to go, just know, I will dig your grave” leaves a haunting impression in comparison with its guttural predecessor.
For fans of the sheer talent of ‘Rise’, ‘Rise: Ascension’ is a fantastic, albeit unexpected accompaniment. For fans of acoustics, the record is a phenomenal start to 2015. Luckily, I’m a sucker for both, and this is completely and utterly on par with its heavier sibling.
’Rise: Ascension’ by A Skylit Drive is out now on Tragic Hero Records.
Words by Ali Cooper (AliZombie_)