Ancient - Back To The Land Of The Dead CD
Wicked tongues claim that the most impressive thing in the career of Ancient has been the duration of the band's hiatus. Twelve years of silence usually lead a formation directly into oblivion. Some might say that nobody missed the gothic influenced pieces of Aphazel (or just "Zel", it's up to you) and his constantly changing line-ups. They call these numbers boring or lame and the most intelligent guys blame them for being "gay". I don't think that I need to comment this wording. I just agree that a reduction of the gothic elements would have probably caused an improvement of quality. Nevertheless, I missed the band.
Having said this, I welcomed the quasi title track "Land of the Dead" with open arms and, of course, open ears. It was the first track that I heard from the new album and its intensity, its harshness and its maturity made my day. Moreover, this piece links seamlessly to the metallic (non-gothic) highlights of the last albums. Black metal, not too grim and not too brutal, but mostly with an appropriate amount of darkness, is again the name of the game. Aphazel's angry, raw vocals build a bridge to the past as well. "My journey is over, it's time to come back!" summarizes his central message and one is inclined to agree unreservedly.