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Anciients - Heart Of Oak Award winner

Heart Of Oak
by Drago at 25 April 2013, 3:00 PM

The thrill of discovering a great band for the first time is such an exhilarating feeling. No matter how old I get or how many bands I have heard through the years, when you listen to a band that you have never heard and have your mind blown is one of the aspects I love about metal so much. Vancouver’s ANCIIENTS have released a complex, layered and progressive masterpiece with “Heart of Oak”.

Combining the riffs, vocal melodies of MASTODON with the progressive complexity of modern day ENSLAVED is the blueprint of their debut record. The musicianship is top notch and the structures of the songs are breathtaking. The majority of the material is a journey that paints a landscape of desolation. Eight of the nine songs are six minutes or longer with the one exception being the classically inspired one minute acoustic instrumental prelude “One Foot In The Light”.

Utilizing two vocalists, Kenneth Paul Cook and Chris Dyck feed off of each other perfectly, the combination of the melodies blend excellent. The melodic vocal melodies are instantly catchy and the aggressive vocals are not too over the top and are the perfect counterpoint. ANCIIENTS separate themselves by their layered song structures. “Hearts Of Oak” is reminiscent of a band that has been writing records for a long time and is very seasoned. It is inconceivable that this is an actual debut record. To hear a record that is constructed so perfectly is an inspiration to my faith in Metal.

From front to back this is an incredibly diverse and strong record. The epic track “The Longest River” is the quintessential ANCIIENTS track. The dynamics that are built from the low-key opening, the dexterous lead guitar lines and the guttural vocals bring the song to a dramatic build before it is brought back down to a SABBATH Doom riff.

Drummer Mikey Hannay puts on a clinic on “Giants”. His double bass playing is jaw dropping. The MASTODON like vocal melody will implant in your brain before the complexity takes over and the listener is taken on a journey of grand proportions. There are enough riffs in each song to make up an entire modern rock record. If you are not banging your head and shouting along to the chorus of “Faith and Oath” then metal just doesn’t flow through your veins.

This is an astounding debut release. The maturity and the complexity of the material are light years beyond most metal bands. ANCIIENTS will make a huge impact on the underground scene with critics and fans alike. “Hearts of Oak” is incredibly accessible and complex. Most bands can only dream of writing a record like this their entire career and they managed to accomplish this on their debut. We are witnessing the birth of a band that takes extreme metal to great new heights.

Once in a great while a band crosses my path and reaffirms my belief that metal is intelligent and musicianship wise untouchable. Of all the records that I have to sift through and passes over my desk it is encouraging to find a release as inspiring as “Heart of Oak”.

5 Star Rating

1. Raise the Sun
2. Overthrone
3. Falling in Line
4. One Foot in the Light
5. The Longest River
6. Giants
7. Faith and Oath
8. Flood and Fire
9. For Lisa
Chris Dyck – Vocals, Guitars
Kenneth Paul Cook – Vocals, Guitars
Mikey Hannay – Drums
Aaron Gustafson - Bass
Record Label: Season Of Mist


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