ANCIENT - The Cainian Chronicle Digipack CD

ANCIENT - The Cainian Chronicle Digipack CD

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Ancient are a hell of an underrated band. Two years after they released their highly acclaimed folk/black album Svartalvheim and an EP, they released this album which marked their initial change in style- the band cut out most to any folk influences, and instead, a more melodic approach was introduced to their sound, and by the time this album was released, the melodic sub-genre of black metal was saturated with quality releases- and this album is one of them.

The first thing you notice in this album is the use of instrumental intros. They are very present throughout the album- some are in place, some are overlong (such as the first one) and a very eccentric tribal-influenced one that uses recorded female groaning instead of vocals (Exu). The rest of the songs divide into two groups- the first part of the album, which has a more straightforward approach to melodic black metal. It is accompanied by furious and tight riffing, enhanced bass, and very wild, but technical drumming. This shows a very different approach to black metal in relation to their debut, and marks an introduction to a new matured sound the band will use later on their career. The second part is more epic and has a more pagan/folk feel than the previous, and it features more progressive structures with more melodic riffing and soloing.

The vocals have improved by many since the debut. Growling, hissing, tortured screams and whispers are featured alongside haunting clean vocals, featuring occasional female vocals which have a ghastly gothic-like feeling to them. These also add to the mysterious nature of the album, along with the dark lyrics of the album (and are sung in English this time), which divide into three parts: the first one tells a dark, poetic story about the exiled Cain, the second one quotes The Divine Comedy, and the third one is more pagan and ritualistic. The only flaw of this release is the consistency of the music. Although it features top notch black metal, what could you expect for an hour-long album of this genre?

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