Anciients – Heart of Oak

We apologize for the dip in our review rate… Gosh! You ought to know that we’ve got lives as well!!

That said, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy reviews the new album from Anciients titled Heart of Oak, released via Season of Mist.

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Tracklisting:

1.  Raise the Sun
2.  Overthrone
3.  Falling in Line
4.  One Foot in the Light
5.  The Longest River
6.  Giants
7.  Faith and Oath
8.  Flood and Fire
9.  For Lisa

Somewhat disingenuously described as ‘progressive metal with extreme metal elements’ or ‘progressive stoner metal’, Anciients’ music is modern sludge in the Baroness/Mastodon vein. Remember how quickly those two bands went from crossover powerhouses to meandering, dentured versions of their old selves? Anciients manage to capture the spirit of their forerunners right on the cusp of that shift, not quite putting out the intensity of Remission-era Mastodon, but rarely achieving the bloat of Baroness’ Blue Album.

 

 

They’re good musicians – there’s no denying it. They have complex, involving guitar melodies, mile-wide riffs and a powerhouse rhythm section. It’s hard not to be drawn in by the energy and musicianship of this material. Still, ‘Overthrone’ sounds too much like an attempt to channel the chug and vocal delivery of ‘Leviathan’. Building from a clean, melodic opening, ‘Falling In Line’ has a compelling ferocity and a nicely eastern-tinged solo as well. The puling bassline provides a great underpinning to the questing, flowing dual-guitar lines. ‘The Longest River’ mixes in classic metal melody and touches of both Baroness and Opeth in music and vocal delivery.  ‘Faith and Oath’ showcases some of those extreme metal influences with an opening that could almost have been battle-ready old school death metal with a slightly different sound. However, we’re soon back in the loping, noodly modern sludge space. The vocals are too cheesy for my taste, both the melodic, soaring voice and the cartoonish cookie monster growl, but your mileage may vary. The rest of the songs are basically cut from the same cloth, apart from the flowing, melodic jam ‘For Lisa’.

Anciients have a lot of talent. Nearly every song contains great riffs, intricate and effective arrangements and balls-out brilliant playing by everyone in the band. I’m less convinced about their song craft, and about the derivative nature of their music. This style of melodic, epic sludge metal hasn’t proven to have much staying power, with the pioneers of the genre rapidly diluting their own formula. Perhaps the prog aspirations will prove to be Anciients’ saving grace, compelling them to move away from the fortuitous but somewhat shallow pool of zeitgeist influences they’re currently channeling. They certainly have the chops for it, and perhaps it’s time there was an alternative to the Dream Theater paradigm of prog metal.

Stream the entire album below:

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KEN mode – Entrench

Today we have Mohammad Kabeer letting out his thoughts on KEN mode‘s new album Entrenchreleased via Season of Mist.e

Entrench

Track list :
1. Counter Culture Complex
2. No; I’m in Control
3. Your Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick
4. The Terror Pulse
5. The Promises of God
6. Romeo Must Never Know
7. Secret Vasectomy
8. Figure Your Life Out
9. Daeodon
10. Why Don’t You Just Quit?
11. Monomyth

I remember hearing about   KEN mode during my college days by my friend when the band was still struggling to get known. My friend had seen one of those ads   which asks if you are a Slipknot  fan or  a  Metallica  fan  or  a fan of any  reputed , distinguished band and recommends you a band  just like that which is relatively unknown, in my friends case it was Neurosis and boy was he excited  about them  when he found KEN mode  that he kept  pestering me to listen to them  which  I did ,  and  I found their style of music  to be quite  interesting  but then it didn’t really  astound me like it did to my friend. After that I didn’t really follow the band, sure I heard the singles that came out on music blogs and streamed some of their music online  but I never got to listening their albums in its entirety, although  I was happy for them  as they  had  made a lot of progress since  then and were  playing at major festivals like Hellfest. Now five years later on, I found out that I had to review their new album, I was a little surprised, but also feeling a little nostalgic. It was like  visiting an old friend wondering what  he’d be like now, even if he wasn’t a close one, after all these years would he still be able to conjure up dark images? Would he still be as energetic as he was in his youth? Well.. It seems that he still has some of the old charm but has gone a little rusty with age.

KEN mode  is a three piece Hardcore/Noisecore  outfit  from Winnipeg, Canada  and consists of Jesse Matthewson(Vocals, Bass and Guitars,Piano,MicroKorg) Shawn Matthewson(Percussion) and Andrew  Lacour(bass) .What I found most  interesting   about KEN mode  is their  ability to create  a really dark  atmosphere through their  chaotic dissonance laden  guitars,  which is here  as well, but  only in the slower songs of the section such as No, Im in control  in which  the distorted bass  and the off kilter guitars  create a really gritty atmosphere , The  Terror  pulse whose   creepy dissonant  guitar twangs sent a chill up my spine, also  worth  noting are   Daeodon   with its massive  chugs  and  even Romeo must Never Know which is a ballad of sorts , a rather uncanny  one  with whispered vocals . The faster songs however, save  for the promises of god which really  epitomises  what KEN mode is about don’t really   do  much  here,  they  just seem pretty mediocre  mathcore/noisecore ditties  that heavily borrow from  bands like Converge and  The Dillinger escape plan and I don’t  really think that that’s working for them.

So in the end what we have here is quite a mixed bag, while the slow songs are quite intriguing, they don’t really change my opinion of the band too much, this is not something that I will listen again and again and the reason for that is something that I can’t really fathom, as far as the faster songs are concerned the band has definitely gone down a notch. But nonetheless I think this is a good album that I might enjoy occasionally, however I am sure fans of the band would beg to differ. Now if you’ll excuse me  I think ill go listen to some Gaza.

Listen to a stream of the entire album below!