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Dark Ascent Comes Into The Light
There’s nothing better than to hear different parts of Heavy Metal perfectly combined to form a well balanced piece of music ready to ravage a city!
Formed in the late 2011, just barely out of infancy, Dark Ascent hit Oklahoma’s Hard Rock/Heavy Metal scene with a brutal force.
Sean Doyle (guitarist), Kirk Willis (bassist) and Clifton Easterday (drummer) were in a band together called Soul Torrent a few months back. But after a long while Sean, Kirk and Clifton wanted to create music with a heavier tone and a sharper edge, so because of creative differences they decided to leave Soul Torrent.
“Between our similar tastes in music, our personalities and just our overall friendship we decided to continue making music together regardless of the project,” said Doyle. “Frank Knoles, our vocalist, came into the picture after answering a post on Craiglist for a singer and we knew that he was the right fit from day one. It just felt right.”
“We went through a few auditions and guitarists. Talks of just being a ‘single guitar band’ circulated quite a bit. Up until a week before our first show at the Roxy, we still didn’t have a second guitarist,” said Easterday. “Sean had met Keith Wingfield (guitarist), who had just recently finished his role in a band called a Horse Called War and was looking for a new project. We did our first two shows with him and we all just clicked. It was at that moment that we knew our band was complete.”
Now, don’t misunderstand! Dark Ascent never started out or was even considered a ‘tribute/cover’ band. Just like any local and well-known band, Dark Ascent performed a handful of cover songs but always had put their own little twists on them.
“We did have a handful of covers we use to perform but we agreed that as time went on we would phase out covers for originals,” said Knoles. “Now that we are at that point we perform all originals in our set. We can play covers but only because we want to pay our respect to the artists that has greatly influenced us throughout our childhood.”
It is always refreshing to know that a band is influenced by many sub-genres of a particular fashion and not just concretely set on a singular point. Because believe me, there are some local bands out there that has a theme of repetition that even to the untrained ear sounds prosaic and bland.
“We all love metal in its vast forms and our influences are all over the spectrum. Having the talent that we have, it gives us the ability to mix the best parts of different genres of metal like brutal double bass, harmonized guitars and two and three part vocals,” said Willis. “Sean lives and breaths 80s metal. Keith, with his experience in Horse Called War and Soul Crisis combined with his influences from Born of Osiris and Trivium, brings the heaviness that helps drive the band. Clifton is a melting pot of musical influences, spanning from classical, 90s alternative, all the way to Amon Amarth/Opeth-like metal. Frank is the pinnacle of American metal and if I could, I would marry Rob Trujillo or Les Claypool. All of this combined forms a brutal and intense ride.”
One difference I noticed about Dark Ascent that helps them stand out from all the other bands I have seen is their interaction with the audience during their performance. A physical task that involves the audience more and it seems to work.
“There’s almost no greater feeling in the world than to look out into the crowd and see people swaying/moving to the sounds of our music and watching their lips move along with the rest of the vocals,” said Knoles. “Also, to help the crowd get involved, we use a keg. Yes, I said a keg. We let crowd beat the hell out of a keg with a bat along with the music. That type of visible energy and excitement gives us a huge adrenline rush.”
Headlining their own show at McSalty’s, performing a national show in support of Blaze Baley, debuted a bunch of new songs at the Hidden Castle and also completed their own CD, entitled “My Evil”. Dark Ascent has come so far for being such a young band.
“We would love to be able to play on a bill with a band that we all listened to,” said Doyle. “The ability to play, to draw a bigger fan base and hope that people can enjoy our work as artists.”
Now, I don’t say this about a lot of local Heavy Metal bands but the musical flow of Dark Ascent, to me; is similar to, if not equal to a well-known Swedish metal band that has been around since 1997, Soilwork.
Dark Ascent is one of the local bands, that I believe, has the drive and the passion to make it in the music industry. The music that they create has a shock factor that will put anybody that loves Heavy Metal on the edge of their seat and always leaving them wanting more. I am sure Oklahoma will be seeing a hell of a lot more of Frank, Sean, Keith, Kirk and Clifton. Because if I’m right, Dark Ascent is just getting started!