Nine Lashes used to be known for their powerful messages and hard rock anthems, but that is nothing close to what can be found on their new album, Ascend. Instead, the band takes a new direction with electronic music, an emphasis on repeating lyrics, and little substance.
The album opens with "Heartbeats," which reminds listeners through catchy lyrics and an electronic beat that everyone in the world is connected and the same underneath. The melody is infectious, and it's a decent beginning to the album. Unfortunately, it doesn't get much better afterwards. "The Chosen Ones" has a promising start, with a soft guitar and strings, with lyrics like "We were made to fly in a burning sky...keep on rising from the dust." The chorus, however, is the downfall of the song, with the track's title repeating constantly to the point of redundancy. "Glorious" is a standard worship song, backed by a steady drumbeat. The lyrics express how God has rescued us and how we should worship Him for everything He is. While it's a good message, the track won't be winning any points for creativity, as it pars with many of the corporate worship songs in the industry.
It is easy to tell that the band is not entirely comfortable with this new direction, as the music is not fully polished, and the tracks never stray from the what has already been done many times over. Throughout many of the songs, the lyrics are used as fillers and are repeated several times, to the point of annoyance. Most of the time, Jeremy Dunn's singing seems disconnected and not completely invested in the music, with the only notable difference being the cut "Stolen." The emotion portrayed in the chorus of this song as he expresses his desire to turn away from the world and follow God is the most sincere on the record.
Nine Lashes has changed their sound and their focus for their new album, transitioning from a legitimate rock band to an electronic/pop band with eleven radio-ready tracks. Though the record offers nice messages, there is nothing new or exciting to be found. Fans who have been following Nine Lashes from the beginning will most likely be disappointed by this addition.- Review date: 2/20/16, written by Sarah Berdon of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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