First and foremost, I'd like to apologise for the shortage of reviews of late, as I've been moving into university accommodation, and engaging in the activities associated thereof - buying toasters, for example. Today, I wondered into a shop to see what albums they had...
When I picked up "A Godlike Inferno" by Ancient Wisdom, I expected a black-metal or perhaps post-black-metal record. I bought the album on a whim, after seeing a poster for it in Terrorizer magazine. What greeted me upon inspection was a dark, minimalistic, and somewhat soft, almost gothic record, of clean-vocal 90's sounding rock, of quite a subdued nature.
This stuff is very catchy compared to what I'm used to, especially when I was mentally prepared to listen to a black metal record. The vocals are mellow, melancholy, and extremely catchy and evocative, with a soothing, earthy quality. Many of the songs are smooth, almost lullaby like, which is very pleasing. The album is certainly something I'd recommend to someone in search of chill out music, or something to compliment sorrow. I also found the change rather refreshing, as this music is a style which I haven't tapped into in a long, long time - It's much softer then my melancholy music of choice - doom metal, and approaches the mood from a completely different angle, but still carries the beautiful mournfulness which I seek. The vocals remind me a bit of bands like Type O Negative, but are performed in a more rock, less operatic style. The combination of the rocky sound, and the gothic, almost kvlt feel is a very interesting combination, and the track titles alone were enough to lull me into thinking that the album was almost certainly black metal.
The album seems to be well formed, and I can definitely sense a minor classic in the making, even if it's an underground classic, as opposed to becoming hugely renowned. Stylistically, I'd describe Ancient Wisdom as being like the "Baroness" of their genre - a band who play everything a little bit differently, and make some hugely rewarding songs to listen to, if the distinct style suits your ears. The music is very minimalist, with quite bare bones instrumentation, and only a few effects. The production feels very honest and without ornamentation, which gives the album an hones appeal, with the knowledge that the band is recorded as they sound. The album feels like a very compact effort, and it's pleasing to behold.
While in the strictest sense, the band wouldn't appear to be metal, I feel that I'm certainly entitled to review them here. While what they play isn't heavy, the band themselves are huge metal-fans, judging by their picture, and the albums aesthetics also suggests this. All in all, this is the best rock I've listened to in a good while. Ancient Wisdom are, to conclude, Ghost's bluesy American cousin.
I give "A Godlike Inferno" 8/10.
Ancient VVisdom on Myspace
Ancient VVisdom on Shinebox Recordings