If you’re a fan of old-school NWOBHM you’ll know Bitches Sin and of source their lead guitarist Ian Toomey; ‘Ascension’ is his debut solo album. A lot of passion and though has gone into the writing and recording of this album and that does shine through as you’re listening to it. Toomey also says that much of the album is deeply personal to him with many of the tracks being autobiographical in nature which adds a lot of intrigue as you listen to it through for the first time.
It’s a genre crossing album too as while there is a strong NWOBHM feel across the album with a couple of tunes feeling like they just arrived via time machine, there is also a strong Classic Rock vibe too. Some of this is down to the vocals of David A. Mills who brings a bit of Blues gravel to the mix and his vocals are not stereotypical of what you’d expect from your average NWOBHM band.
Following the interest generated by a clutch of solo singles, Bitches Sin frontman Ian Toomey takes the plunge with his first solo album. Unlike Bitches Sin where the idea of having the material prepped before recording was the modus operandi, ‘Ascension’ was approached differently. Written in the studio and backed by the modern day BS line-up, including the legendary producer Chris Tsangarides who also added his musical weight, it’s a collection of no-frills hard rock songs of which the stomping bluesy ‘Survivor’ is the pick. Written around the theme of death and resurrection, and containing elements of an autobiographical nature, it comes across almost as a release of energy and of a life philosophy. Some lyrics are deeply personal, digging deep and referring to particular events and experiences, in particular the title track; live sounding and riff laden from the impact of using as few takes as possible to get the tracks down, it cuts to the chase without wasting time of energy.
Whether of not this is a Toomey album of a BS album might well be up for debate, as on paper all the elements might suggest it points to the latter, yet having been on ice for a number of years, it makes sense to capitalise on the realisation of the single releases and highlight the name of Ian Toomey.
Ian Toomey, UK Rock guitarist