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Live Review: Super Massive Prog Thing

Posted on March 11, 2015 at 8:15 PM

Ascent and The River Versus in a double release party bonanza  

Dark Nebula Promotions presented the launch of The River Versus’s brand new single and Ascent’s highly anticipated EP, plus special guests Cotidal, for an intimate evening of experimental rock brilliance at Kraak on Friday 6th March.

Firstly, I should probably explain that I am new to the Manchester music scene, therefore coming to all three of the night’s performers totally fresh but more importantly with open mind and ears. It was actually very refreshing to have that kind of perspective, not having heard any of the acts live or recorded before.

Coltidal: A majestic first impression

Cotidal were first up. For me, not being familiar with the band and to be totally honest not really knowing what to expect from any of the acts, Cotidal made a majestic first impression. There were no bells and whistles. There was no vocalist either, but after only a few minutes I had decided that really didn’t matter. The four members of Cotidal (Nick Rutter and Mark Parkinson on guitars, Nick Farnworth bass and Tom Rice drums) are technically precise and deliver a flawless performance while maintaining an instrumental sincerity which would probably get lost behind vocals. Also, they shared the small stage with an acute awareness for each other which comes across as a real sense of connectedness and partnership.


Their sound is fairly heavy but not in a relentless metal kind of way. Waves of melody are built and steadily grow throughout the tracks, giving into grungy bass-driven awesomeness towards the end. It’s a great way to begin proceedings.

The River Versus: Trumpets for the win

The next band, River Versus, I had heard a little about already. What I had heard is that they had a reputation for being pretty amazing live and from the very first notes of their trumpet fanfare intro it was clear that they were not going to disappoint. The keyboard, drums and guitar were arranged effortlessly and all three members (Alec Davis, Aaron Stanton and Jim Trippier) have really strong voices. The songs are just the right amount of catchy; there is some great harmonising with a touch of a ska sound and THERE ARE TRUMPETS! Need I say more?

River Versus have an exceptionally distinctive and irresistibly likeable sound and I hope you all go right now to their website (link below) to buy their new single Gallows - a perfect introduction to this delightful band.

Ascent: Ticking all the prog boxes

Ascent was the final act of the night, launching their Prelusion EP. Ascent has a much more classic metal look and feel compared to the previous two bands. They are a five piece, which includes keyboards and a vocalist frontman. For lovers of classic metal/prog rock they tick all the boxes. There is real passion and conviction in their performance and some seriously emotive vocals from frontman Arya. I couldn’t help but feel I would have liked to see what they could do with a bigger stage and/or venue – they certainly had Kraak packed out with fans anyway. I am sure they will have nothing but success with their new EP.

Words: Scarlett Pares Landells 

Cotidal -
The River Versus
Ascent - 

Categories: LIVE REVIEWS

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