A lot has been said about Ancient VVisdom, not all of it positive, and for many just letting the music do the talking isn’t enough. Heck, it should be more than enough, because Ancient VVisdom’s second shot at the full length is a deadly and distressing thing of beauty. Deathlike does exactly what it says on the tin, and this time around instead of a deep undercurrent of the occult, Deathlike instead treads a path of questioning and discovery. The album still continues in the vein of it’s predecessor, A Godlike Inferno, in it’s gentle waves of acoustic melody but that love for all things Satanic and fiery seems to have given way to a larger mystery – that of death and possible rebirth.
Vocalist Nathan Opposition (ex-Integrity) uses his gentle tones to lift tracks above the inherent gloom that goes along with his subject matter and in doing gives a little more of himself with each passing moment. The title track “Deathlike” is a wonderful highlight, all sorrowful guitar progressions and subtle percussion which add to the strange and unusual atmosphere of the piece as a whole along with being blissfully catchy in it’s harmonic elements.
“Far Beyond Good and Evil” follows the acoustic patterns laid down by Ancient VVisdom in all their music, and it’s here that the themes make their case all the more stronger as the word “deathlike” creeps into the lyrics once again. It gives this record that little bit something extra, that Ancient VVisdom know their subject matter all too well and by incorporating similar words and sentence structures it gives their work an essence of being part of something much bigger. See Blut Aus Nord’s recent 777 trilogy or CaÏna’s Hands That Pluck for reference perhaps.
“Rebirth” allows Ancient VVisdom’s musical prowess to come to the fore, sweet guitar lines peak at the end of the track which has otherwise had a slow and morose aura but which also shows that death isn’t the only thing on the band’s mind. Rebirth is a huge part of the life cycle and Ancient VVisdom delve into this aspect of the end with maturity and respect.
Deathlike won't be everyone's cup of tea, but if lovely sounding, acoustic rock is your thing then there's much here to enjoy. If it's not? Then you're missing out on what is surely going to end up on a lot of End Of Year best of lists. Catchy tunes? Serious subject matter? The occasional massive chorus? What are you waiting for?