War – it changes people. There are many different types of wars, though. Whether it be that of a military sense, a war within ourselves or the general struggles of life, we’re all fighting a daily war. No matter the size of those wars, though, each and every one of us can get through them with the right support. Another type of war is one we might not see so much of, the struggles bands have behind closed doors. As a product of the latter, we’re presented with Lawrence, KS’ Sweet Ascent and their latest EP WAR. For 3 years, this band has been bringing their unique brand of rock to the world. Though they’ve gone through a couple of line-up changes since their formation, they don’t let it stop or discourage them. With each release, they pour their blood, sweat and tears into an artful creation that stands the test of time. Equal parts brutality and angst, these guys have left their mark on their local scene, along with many other cities around this great nation. The title comes from the massive struggles the band faced while writing/recording this EP. Instead of surrendering, though, they loaded their musical weapons and fought back harder than ever. With that drive and passion, we’ve been introduced to 5 songs-worth of their best material to date.
As fiery an opening as ever, “What I’m Missing” leads us in with a bouncy riff from guitarist Bobby Louden, followed by some hefty high-pitched screams from vocalist Jordan Rebman. The interesting thing about this EP is that, conforming with the title, each track deals with a different battle the band has faced. Rebman wrote this particular track about addictions and what they can do to people, the calling of temptations of the Rock N Roll “lifestyle” He sings about how being on stage, seeing people sing his words back to him makes him feel whole. It’s the ultimate testament to how music can change lives, help heal you and eventually, make you a better person.
One of the track that resonates with me, and likely many others, is “Wishing Well.” This track was seemingly written when the band was in a really dark place, contemplating hanging it up altogether. Rebman cries out to tell you that it’s okay to feel alone, like you’ve failed, like no one cares but that couldn’t be less true. Even through those feelings, so long as you keep breathing, there’s a life left to live and dreams to be fulfilled. For him, there’s always going to be songs to be sung to anyone who may hear them. This track and the one that follows go perfectly hand-in-hand.
“The Cliff” builds on the uncertainty that you likely felt while listening to “Wishing Well.” Rebman sings “staring at a cliff, my eyes filled with doubt, a cliff called uncertainty. My accomplishments lined up out in front, there is nothing there to see.” While this song brings with it a melancholic nature, it’s meant to prove that, if they can get through something… so can you. Never give up, even if you feel like you’re not going anywhere. The moment you give up is the moment that you’ve lost the war. This is the band’s way of letting the fans, their fellow band members and loved ones know that “you’re all I need.”
The title track, “WAR,” is a track that reminds you to fight for what you believe in. “I’m sorry that you got caught, in the crossfire, in-between but no battle has been won without a few casualties.” Have you ever felt like fighting for what you believe in has left you a few friends shorter? Life is war, it isn’t pretty but in the end, after the smoke clears… you’ll be standing side by side with the ones who truly care about and understand you. You might have to push people away, you might lose people who you never expected to lose but so long as you’re fighting your hardest… you’ll never truly lose. While this track has it’s heavy moments, it certainly rings out as one of the catchiest tracks on the EP, by far. The final track, “Alive” was likely written when the band overcame those fears and uncertainties as a band. It’s the ultimate positive message that, no matter the cost, you can win your war too. Fight for what you believe in, decimate your enemies and never stop until you’ve cleared every one of your goals.
WAR is more than a collection of songs, it’s a message. It’s the reflection of internal struggles within the individual members of SA, within the band as a whole and that we face in every day life. I believe that, with the release of this EP, Sweet Ascent are finally finding their footing in this world. The band has never sounded better, they’ve overcome massive struggles as a band and they’ve gotten to play with some of the biggest names in the rock/metal scene today! What’s next for this band? Well, there’s no telling but there’s nowhere to go but up! Check out the video for “My Wishing Well,” which premiered today on VENTS Magazine and pick up your copy of WAR, the band’s 3rd self-released EP, today!
Sweet Ascent is:
Jordan Rebman – Vocals
Bobby Louden – Lead Guitar
Jake Dorn – Drums