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Ancient Burial – Beyond the Watchtowers

Ancient Burial
Beyond the Watchtowers
by Cherie Wong at 07 May 2020, 9:01 PM

Aside from their country of origin, Portugal, not much is known about ANCIENT BURIAL. They coyly claim that the band “may or may not” include members of other “high-profile hordes.” I can only assume ANCIENT BURIAL is the raw black metal project of a Portuguese mumble rap group. Jokes aside, ANCIENT BURIAL is an anonymous raw black metal band, and on May 1, 2020, they released their debut album “Beyond the Watchtowers.”

Beyond the Watchtowers” is raw, as raw as early black metal. Everything is purposefully buried in the mix. The drums are muffled, except for the bright tones of the accent snares and cymbals. Individual notes of guitar riffs blur into a melody, albeit one that is barely audible. Incoherent shrieking comes from somewhere deep in the background. The combined effect is a maelstrom of sound that assaults the eardrums. While most of the tracks are chaotic soundscapes, each track is somewhat distinguishable from the others. A band biography describes their music as somewhere between an “improvisational meltdown and motoric catatonia.” That is a fairly apt description. The album plays out like the deterioration of a madman.

The opener “Intro + Nighthunt” begins with an eerie moment of quiet ritualistic drumming. In “Wolferian Woods of Belial” and “Into the Land of Death,” the vocalist descends further into madness. To complement him, the drums and riffs are considerably faster. While “Ritualistic Trinity of Evil” is fast, the background riff is slower, leading to a trance-like effect. “Dark Path Disciples” begins and ends with an ear shattering high pitched guitar tone, which forcibly makes the listener pay attention. “Hunger for Desecration” starts off slow, already differentiating it from the rest of the tracks. “Eclipse de Almas” is the nine-minute closer. It’s a recap of the last half hours-worth of music, both the slow, trance inducing tracks and the blisteringly fast and delirious tracks.

Overall, I recommend ANCIENT BURIAL’s “Beyond the Watchtowers” to fans of raw black metal. If you are not a fan of the genre, I recommend you listen to one or two tracks and decide from there. Most of the tracks are raw walls of sound. There are definitely moments worth listening to buried, but they are very buried, due to the nature of the genre.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Intro + Nighthunt
2. Wolferian Woods of Belial
3. Into the Land of Death
4. Ritualistic Trinity of Evil
5. Dark Path Disciples
6. Hunger for Desecration
7. Eclipse de Almas
Record Label: Signal Rex


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