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Anciients - Heart of Oak - 94%

trollhammer666, June 29th, 2013

I can’t even comprehend the thoughts in my head when realizing that this, this glorious combination of mind and music, is a debut album. Someone call a lexicographer because Heart of Oak should replace dictionary definition of perfection. It is absolute beauty in every aspect, loaded with mesmerizing and hypnotic melodies, laden with haunting and limit defying screams, with crisp and beautiful lyrics to add to the overwhelming greatness. At first glance they sound like a hybrid of Opeth (progressive metal, but still Heritage-esque) and Enslaved’s more recent works, but while drawing inspirational samples from these bands it is soon realized that Anciients is its own machine, a machine capable of the incapable.

The instrumental value on Heart of Oak is so far beyond incredible, a near uncanny resemblance to the works of Opeth; yet unique in every sense of it. Ever-flowing melodies and jaw-dropping jams that you could headbang along to for the rest of your life are what define the guitars. The clean vocals sound a lot like Mikael’s (Opeth), just a little more echo and distant sounding, almost a mix of that and Mikkel Sandager’s clean vocal style (ex-Mercenary). Anciients also use Darkthrone style evil punk vocals that sound impeccable, usually throwing them over top of the aforementioned style of riffs as well. The harsh vocals are also brilliant, incredibly raw and guttural that leaves you with the sole wish that you could do the same. There is just so much to look forward to on Heart of Oak; the way they are able to create this magical medley of progressive black metal with crust punk riffs and thrashy breakdowns while using so many different vocal styles is just breathtaking to say the least.

One of my favourite tracks “Faith and Oath” blasts you with a hard riff and then evolves into this dreamy and chaotic slower style Enslaved song. Its chorus is already so memorable to me with amazing lyrics like “thrown to the lions, nowhere to run”. The way he sings it has stained my mind already and I really hope that stain never washes away. Nearly all the lyrics sung are fairly easy to understand which makes this album great if you enjoy singing along. “Falling in Line” is another song I fell in love with right away; it has a slow acoustic intro that blossoms into an Opeth style jazzy progressive metal beauty. Another line that I adored on this album is “fills your heart with dread, the rivers running red”. The seven minute outro “For Lisa” is a perfect closing to the album, a slow unravelling of steady guitar that really starts to pick up about halfway through the song into an upbeat happy ending credits if you will.

I kid you not if you don’t go check out this album you are missing out. Easily, without a doubt, this is the hidden treasure of metal in the year 2013. I am in love and I fall in love over and over again every time I listen through. I live four hours away from their hometown and I will be there in a heartbeat to see them live.

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