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A Worthy Offer - 90%

yentass, July 20th, 2004

If you''ve asked me to describe Ancient''s music several years ago, circa 2003, you'd hear as a result something along the lines of "a weak Cradle of Filth impression" or "CoF wannabes", since Ancient aim at being ''grandiose'' and ''theatric'' (see also Dimmu Borgir), yet when CoF are doing it with certain chique, or however you spell it, Ancient's attempts sounds more like a cheap parody - alongside the occasional use of synth ambiances, Ancient also used to feature a female vocalist, yet apparently from CoF''s Sarah, Deadly Kristin barely offers something, apart from looks, yet she still thought that she could sing. Bad, bad idea.

And then "Night Visit" came and wiped that all away. Yes, Ancient are still playing melodic BM in the vein of the bands specified above (but more Dimmu Borgir, since they don''t incorporate gothic elements after all), but still - lots of things have changed. First of all, no more Deadly Kristin (except the only appearance at the first track, luckily no singing). Second - the band significantly matured when it comes to music writing: the riffage became more agressive, partly because of the 2-nd guitar in the face of Aleister and the drumwork is remarkable also. You can still hear them experiment with heavy-metal-like riffage (see the beginning of track #3 - "Horroble", which is coincidentally my favorite track on the album), but most of the album is definitely BM, with no gimmiks this time. Except one, and that''s the weakest point in the album - it would be Aphazel.

Aphazel is by no means a really bad vocalist, but while musicwise the band has made a huge leap forward, his vocal performance stood still at the same point, sometimes involving odd elements (like the part in track #2 when he sings "Mesmerise my fucking vortexsssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss", which sounds like a dentist''s drill) which sound plain bad, but the main problem about the vocals is that they no longer fit the music. On Night Visit there''s plenty of parts that are born for a clean passage, or a low growl, or a spoken word, but the only thing you'd hear here is screeching and screeching again with zero tonal changes, negating the great impression given by every other aspect.

Yet the bottomline remains the same: it''s a worthy offer indeed. Check it out if melodic and ''untrue'' BM speaks to you, you won''t regret it.