Reviews Anciients Heart Of Oak

Anciients

Heart Of Oak

The debut album, Heart of Oak, for the Canadian extreme/progressive metal band, Anciients, is a fascinating one. And do not think that this is going to be your standard “progressive” band, where technicality is more important than feeling or substance. This band is an extremely difficult one to categorize so the term “progressive” is used here in a very vague manner.

From the opening track of the album, the majestic “Raise The Sun,” it is clear that the band’s level of musicianship is impressive to say the very least. With its beautiful sounding intro, the song quickly erupts with a 70s influenced riff which has an unbelievable weight to it. Soon enough you start to get what Anciients are going for here, something that becomes more obvious when the second track, “Overthrone” kicks in with its Opeth-ian melodies. But wait! That is not all. Soon enough the rhythmic pattern and the vocal delivery change and start to resemble progressive sludge legends Mastodon (especially their earlier releases.) And still this is just one side of Anciients.

The album keeps transforming and mutating by presenting new elements of Anciients, the emotional intros, as is the case in one of the albums highlights, “Falling In Line,” which has a Baroness tone to it, and the use of acoustic guitar to compliment their songs, giving them an extra push shows the diversity of the band. The acoustic interlude of the album, “One Foot In The Light” reveals that in all its glory. 

But even then, Anciients have still their minds set on adding more variety to their music. Soon enough the progressive black metal visions of bands such as Enslaved find their place in the album, for instance in the beginning of the monumental “Faith and Oath,” which then seems to continue with an almost Tool-esque concept. Thrash metal influences on the ending of “Flood and Fire” also make an appearance in Heart of Oak, as well as doom metal moments, for instance in the ending of probably the strongest track in the album, the unbelievable “Giants.”

All in all, this is an excellent progressive metal album (there, using the loose term “progressive” again.) Anciients music manages to remain both complicated in their song structures, but also have certain straightforwardness at the same time, mainly due to the fact that the band remains within the margins of the metal world and at the same time adds some rockier influences. Definitely an exceptional album to launch their career with, and as time passes we can only hope that they will continue reaching for greatness and crafting their own sound.

8.5 / 10Spyros Stasis
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8.5 / 10

8.5 / 10

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