Ascension of the Watchers - Numinosum

Ascension of the Watchers is the long announced side-project of Burton C. Bell from Fear Factory and it should be pointed out that it has very little in common with the cyber-metal of his prime band as their debut full-length album “Numinosum” musically lies on the opposite side to works like “Demanufacture” or “Obsolete”.
It is deemed to be the creative expression of Bell’s more intimate, spiritual and gloomier side however upon listening to these eleven tracks doubts remain if whether Ascension of the Watchers is truly the dark element of his yin yang musical personality. Built around a Dark Folk framework, where keyboards and programmed beats play dominant roles, “Numinosum” fails roundly to enrapture the listener with an emotive, intimate and soul-searching experience as it lacks a certain consistency, depth and compelling moments. Its minimalist approach in both pace and ambient is devoid of substance and contrast, almost reaching levels of amateurishness, which is almost unbelievable considering the merits of the participants involved on this project. Besides Burton C. Bell, who plays guitar and sings, “Numinosum” features his old time complicit John Bechdel from Ministry, Killing Joke fame on keyboards and Edu Mussi from Still Life Decay on guitars, plus guest appearances from notorious figures like Ministry’s Al Jourgensen and the late Paul Raven. Expect nothing but a less inspired Dead Can Dance crossed with John Carpenter film scores, I’m particularly reminded of the western-horror “Vampires” weakened by a feeble and contrived vocal performance from Bell himself. Disappointing to say the least! (2/10)

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