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This excellent compilation captures Ancient in their earliest days, featuring founder of the band Aphazel, and drummer/vocalist Grimm, at the time. These early recordings were written at time periods ranging from around 93' to 95', which places Ancient at the late end of the second-wave black metal movement. Even though they weren't around in earlier years where black metal was just becoming a big deal in Norway, they still managed to capture and perfect that unique Norwegian second-wave sound that Burzum, Immortal, and Mayhem had. Production qualities clear, yet interesting and atmospheric. Although Ancient sounded much like the aforementioned bands, keep in mind that they were not without their own identity back then, as well. Being mostly known today for their overly melodic keyboards, female vocals, gothic imagery, and so forth, fans of modern Ancient would have absolutely no clue that what they were hearing was in fact the same band, except about 12 years earlier. That same fan would probably shy away from this music, as it is not catchy, or nearly as melodic as modern Ancient. In these times, as I have stated previously, Ancient were practitioners of the ideal second-wave black metal: cold, grim, atmospheric guitar lines, occasional droning song structure, Norwegian written lyrics, and at times, they even held a much darker general atmosphere than their Norwegian predecessors. The music is still Ancient's however, and there are some definite similarities that the listener would notice when comparing then and now.
Although Ancient are well beyond their black metal days, this compilation is a very accurate representation of what Ancient, and Norwegian black metal in general, used to sound like. This is without a doubt, one of my definite favorites of the second-wave style. This release is a must have for all second-wave fans, and all black metal fans alike. Strongly recommended.
Ancient is a band that is frequently criticized for both its music and its 'gay' image, but despite that, the band of vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Aphazel has never reached ‘the absolute zero’. On the contrary; especially the first few Ancient releases contain high quality black metal and the compilation album ‘Det Glemte Riket’ - also the title for the band’s first single – proves this. It features early and rare recordings by Ancient, including the ‘Det Glemte Riket’ single (1994) and the ‘Trolltaar’ EP (1995).
The music from ‘Trolltaar’ can be described as cold sounding, rather varied black metal with very nice, raw vocals. Sometimes it seems like the musicians want to show off a bit and that makes the music a bit tasteless here and there (listen to the intro of “Nattens Skjonnhet”, for example), but the majority of the music is just good. The tracks from ‘Det Glemte Riket’ have that same cold atmosphere, but this time there’s no showing off. This results in two great black metal songs, of which especially “Det Glemte Riket” is worth listening. Three previously unreleased tracks remain, of which the first one, “Paa Evig Vandring”, is interesting enough (to me anyway) to be mentioned: the song was recorded during the sessions for the first Ancient demo ‘Eerily Howling Winds’ and shows that Aphazel already in his ‘early days’ knew how to create the right sound. For those among us who want to explore the black metal of the early 90s (or the history of Ancient, of course) is ‘Det Glemte Riket’ a must-have.