Anciients - Heart Of Oak review

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Band: Anciients
Album: Heart Of Oak
Release date: April 2013

01. Raise The Sun
02. Overthrone
03. Falling In Line
04. The Longest River
05. One Foot In The Light
06. Giants
07. Faith And Oath
08. Flood And Fire
09. For Lisa
10. Humanist [deluxe edition bonus]
11. Built To Die [deluxe edition bonus]

2012 saw a notable number of metal bands releasing excellent debut albums (Hail Spirit Noir's was the best, just throwing that out there), and 2013 thus far seems to be following suit. Anciients in particular, a four-piece out of Canada, seem to have been on a roll with pushing along their releases since their inception. The band only formed in 2010, released their Snakebeard EP in 2011, and now two years later here we are with their full length debut, Heart Of Oak. The band's sound overlaps between stoner metal, progressive metal, and a few extreme metal elements as well, but all come together on this debut to create one truly tasty pie.

Although the band's page on here lists them as progressive metal, the core of Anciients' sound really lies more in the stoner metal category: a bluesy, riff-heavy guitar tone that carves many nice grooves all throughout the album ("Raise The Sun," The Longest River," and the warm bass on "Falling In Line"). Progressive and extreme metal elements are indeed present as well, but seem to be there more so to enhance the heart of the stoner sound, not so much to dominate it. The band's progressive edge comes across mostly in front man Kenny Cook, whose vocals honestly sound like something from post-Blood Mountain era Mastodon, as well as the occasionally more atmospheric and melodic side of the band's music (the beginning of "Flood And Fire," and especially on the closing instrumental track "For Lisa").

But perhaps the most creative side to Anciients' music lies in the band's dabbling with the extreme metal elements. This side of their equation is rather subtle, and really only manifests itself in occasional black metal shrieks ("Raise The Sun"), death growls ("Falling In Line," "Faith And Oath"), and a black metal guitar tone like in the beginning of "Faith And Oath." What's really cool, however, is that Anciients somewhat make these shifts in the techniques of the music go along with the music's tempo. Generally, when the extreme elements rear their heads the tempo is faster, and when the band withdraws back into their melodic stoner elements, it winds down, which displays that Anciients are quite effective at transitioning moods within their music.

Since the various elements of Anciients' music are blended together so cohesively, at times it can make one feel as though they wish the band had gone further in one particular direction: maybe more into the black metal, or more into the progressive side of their formula. But, so it now seems, that's not what Anciients are trying to accomplish. They're a stoner metal band enhancing the sound of their genre with some well-chosen elements from a few others, and the final product has worked quite well for them, and definitely shows that these guys have much potential to grow. If you're still not convinced by this review that you should give Heart Of Oak a listen, go ahead and stare at that fantastic album artwork for a few minutes, and that'll probably do the trick.

Listen at Bandcamp.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Written on 27.04.2013 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.


Comments: 7   Visited by: 251 users
28.04.2013 - 03:03
Saw these guys on the Death To All tour. They were cool guys but the show could have been played a bit tighter.
28.04.2013 - 15:19
Written by MetalDoomMaster on 28.04.2013 at 03:03

Saw these guys on the Death To All tour. They were cool guys but the show could have been played a bit tighter.

They opened for Death To All? Wow, kinda surprises me that they'd have such an obscure band opening for something like that, but that's pretty cool regardless
This is the water, and this is the well
Drink full and descend
The horse is the white of the eyes, and dark within
28.04.2013 - 16:11
Written by Apothecary on 28.04.2013 at 15:19

They opened for Death To All? Wow, kinda surprises me that they'd have such an obscure band opening for something like that, but that's pretty cool regardless

Yeah I was expecting something a little older, like when Morta Skuld opened for the 2012 Death To All tour. I don't really know why they were picked to open, but they played a decent show haha.
07.05.2013 - 05:50
It was great. I can get lost in those wandering guitar riffs
21.09.2013 - 18:05
The Psilosopher
8 is a bit too high. This album seems to fall under the "jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none" category. A lot of styles are amalgamated here but none particularly stands out and the album falls flat. Feels a bit lengthy as some of the songs aren't that different and unique from each other. I would give a 6 at best.
21.09.2013 - 18:07
The Psilosopher
Giants and the 2 bonus songs seems to do the trick for me.
07.10.2013 - 15:00
I like the release. The clean vocals could do a bit more for me, but I do like the tone of the guitars a lot. "Overthrone" does sound very much like Mastodon, especially in the beginning....
Thanks to Apothecary for the review!

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