Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Ancient VVisdom - Sacrificial (Album Review)



Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 28/10/2014
Label: Magic Bullet Records

‘Sacrificial’ CD/DD/LP track listing:

1. Rise of an Ancient Evil
2. Chaos Will Reign
3. Blood Offering
4. Devils Work
5. Blind Leading The Blind
6. Worm Ridden Skull
7. I Am Your Sacrifice
8. City of Stone
9. We Are Damnation
10. Higher Into the Black Flames

Bio:

On Sacrificial, ANCIENT VVISDOM delivers ten tracks that continue to push the boundaries of both death rock and neo-folklore while retaining the memorable simplicity and melodic catchiness present on their previous, critically-lauded manifestations. Produced by founding vocalist Nathan Opposition, engineered by Travis Bonner at The Diamond Factory Studios in Austin and mastered by Paul Logus (Anthrax, Clutch, Hellyeah, Shadows Fall et al) at Taloowa Mastering in New York, Sacrificial fuses all the prime qualities of the likes of Black Sabbath, Metallica, and Quicksand, into a wholly anthemic album of dark and light.
 
Thematically, Sacrificial delves further into singer Nathan Opposition’s personal ascent into the unanticipated enlightenment of exploring humanity’s universal darkness. Whereas traditional lore dealing with the occult, paganism, and Satan tends to be heavy-handed (and often synonymous with a proverbial descent away from any sort of positive self-affirmation), Sacrificial spins a slant wherein “down” becomes “up.” In Opposition’s world, confronting one’s own demons and humanity’s primordial penchant toward chaos and destructive ritual will ultimately pass each seeker through a threshold unto which deeper knowledge, sage wisdom, and self-realization envelop one’s consciousness.
 
Comments Opposition, “Where there is chaos you will find us. Where there is disorder, others find discomfort yet I find salvation. Lead me not unto anything. I am my own. This album will enlighten the fools and give the enlightened something to listen to.”
 
Musically, Opposition and his brother, Michael the Dark Angel, continue to accomplish what countless musicians frustratingly attempt to conquer in their song writing: simple, memorable riffs and melodies that stand the test of time. Each hymn comprising Sacrificial is hummable and infectious. Like the best practitioners in any field, the brothers make it look and sound easy to the point where everyone listening thinks they can do it (spoiler alert: very few can ever do it). New addition Mitch Keith Morris wastes no time in making his mark on Sacrificial, channelling deep primitive and tribal percussive influences into the empowering sound that is unmistakably ANCIENT VVISDOM

Review:

The prolific Austin troupe Ancient VVisdom have just released their third album in as many years, entitled ‘Sacrificial’. 

If the first two Ancient VVisdom albums didn't float your boat, then 'Sacrificial' is unlikely to sway you. Yet fans that were sold on their brand of endtimes neo-folk will undoubtedly lap this up, as it contains all the hallmarks of what make Ancient VVisdom ace - post-AIC vocal melodies, anthemic choruses and dynamic song writing. Opener "Chaos Will Reign" is as good a song as they have written, and "Blood Offering" and "Worm Ridden Skull" have all of the hallmarks of classic heavy metal / hard rock, processed through a satanic-grunge filter. 

The obvious difference with 'Sacrificial' is that they have adopted a less folky, more electric approach. This manifests itself in two ways - traditional metal sludge-trudge in the aforementioned "Chaos Will Reign", and alt-rock-as-hell "The Devils Work". It works well for the music (indeed one might say branching out was what Ancient VVisdom needed to do) but there is less dual guitars than before, which makes things a bit more one dimensional.

In addition, one has to wonder how much longer they can go pondering such lyrical topics, as they haven’t really differed from their debut. Indeed, "Blind Leading the Blind" is pretty tiring and weak, and its message seems throwaway and pretentous. Yet Ancient VVisdom has accomplished another album of great hooks and infectious melodies, and their odd mixture of pop sensibilities and occult lyrics will not fade from memory any time soon. 

Words by: Jack Taylor

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