Ascension Of The Watchers is the ”soul without the machine”… A creative, and innovative journey of pioneering vocalist Burton C. Bell. Their latest recording Apocrypha is a vision untold.
Born of life, love, and spirituality, Bell’s unmistakable, harmonious inventory once renowned in one of metal’s finest pioneering acts has brought life to a new concept, a genre of it’s 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…
In early 2002, 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 the music industry alike. A mentor in music, philosophy, and demeanour, Bechdel unwittingly guided Bell along the creative path of this new conceptual movement.
With Bell’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 eighties and nineties 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, the band independently released Iconoclast, issued in limited quantities on CD and vinyl.
In 2008, with the help of Bechdel and Killing Joke bassist Paul Raven, Burton brought Ascension Of The Watchers to Ministry legend Al Jourgensen‘s label, 13th Planet. With the guidance and special collaborations with Jourgensen during the recording and mixing in El Paso, Texas, AOTW added the guitar talents of Eduardo Mussi. It also featured Paul Raven’s last contribution as a bass player on the track Mars Becoming.
Later that year, Ascension Of The Watchers’ debut LP, Numinosum, was released through 13th Planet. Upon release, the band performed special, intimate shows, including the album release performance at Alex Grey‘s Chapel Of Sacred Mirrors in New York. They also had the privilege of supporting Killing Joke on their reunion tour in honour 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, unrecognisable, 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 utilise the crowdfunding platform Pledge Music to jump start the project. After a very successful campaign, raising one hundred and twenty four per cent of their goal, Pledge Music 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, AOTW will renew its journey in 2020 with the culmination of the long awaited Apocrypha. With plans of conceptualised touring, the band continues to grow as Bell’s main creative endeavour, well into the future.
“From them I heard all things, and understood what I saw, that which will not take place in this generation, but in a generation which is to succeed at a distant period, on account of the elect.
All shall be afraid, and the Watchers be terrified.” — The Book Of Enoch