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Ancient
Night Visit
October 2004
Released: 2004, Metal Blade
Rating: 3.8/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

Upon first listen, many may write off Ancient as a half-baked Cradle of Filth/Dimmu Borgir knock-off, but there is much more to this band on repeated listens of its latest CD, NIGHT VISIT. It has been ten years since Ancient released their first album, SVARTALVHEIM, and, my, how they have grown! In later works, the incorporation of symphonic passages, female vocals (Sinergy vocalist, Kimberly Goss, appeared on 1996’s THE CAINIAN CHRONICLE) and general all-around grimness forced the comparisons mentioned earlier and they certainly cannot be refuted. NIGHT VISIT builds on these archetypes adding an incredible atmosphere to the music and, with the help of the geniuses at Studio Fredman, create another sonically exciting chapter of Ancient black metal.



“Envision The Beast” opens with a crushing drum intro courtesy of Grom. His skinsmanship (is that a word?!?) is really a highlight of this entire CD. His solid backbeat and battering ram double bass thunder through your speakers from start to finish. The slower, symphonic passage on the opening cut adds a cool aura to the song, too. Former vocalist Lord Kaiaphas makes a guest appearance on “Rape The Children of Abel.” Kaiaphas’ snarl and Aphazel’s screams meld into an Abbath-like rasp that suits the song perfectly. Besides the dueling vocalists, a haunting guitar intro echoes through the first thirty seconds of the track. The title track is more harmonic black metal, but still keeps its sinister edginess thanks to the lyrics. “The Truth Unveiled” contains a lengthy symphonic passage that closes out the CD in fine form. There are two instrumental bonus tracks tacked on to the end of the CD that follow this same format of atmospheric mood setting.



Call Ancient what you will, but NIGHT VISIT is a killer CD wrought with typical black metal bleakness, a touch of Goth and some blazing instrumentation. Ten years in and Ancient show no sign of slowing down, but rather evolving with the times and modernizing a genre that, more often than not, falls victim to its own constraints.



**The CD also contains a video of the title track.



KILLER KUTS: “Envision The Beast,” “Rape The Children of Abel,” “Night Visit”
Track Listing

1. Envision The Beast
2. Rape The Children of Abel
3. Horroble
4. Night Visit
5. Lycanthropy
6. Night of The Stygian Souls
7. Fuel The Flames
8. The Truth Unveiled
9. The Arctic Mirage (Instrumental) (Bonus Track)
10. Out In The Haunted Woods (Instrumental) (Bonus Track)

Lineup

Apahazel—Vocals/Guitar/Keyboards
Jesus Christ—Guitar/Keyboards
Dhilorz—Bass
Grom—Drums


Next review: » Ancient - Night Visit
Previous review: » Anchor - Pain Inside

Ancient
Night Visit
December 2004
Released: 2004, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

Year-end wrap-up: Each of the last few years to wrap up the year I have picked a theme for my reviews for December. This year due to the overwhelming number of CD’s that deserve exposure, recognition and commentary I am going to resort to quantity over quality. I usually try to give as much attention to each CD with extensive commentary however this month’s reviews (perhaps unfortunately) will be short and sweet and much more in the style of traditional magazine reviews where space restrictions are an important factor. (ie. Less detail) I apologize in advance to readers who expect much more detailed reviews. Please check the reviews archives as many of my colleagues have written excellent detailed commentary of many of these CD’s. I hope the large number of quick comments will help guide you making some of those important year-end CD purchase decisions. Happy Holidays and see you in January. JP



Ancient is one of those long-standing black metal bands that seems to lack respect and some people wonder how they can keep going all these years. Night Visit is the bands sixth full-length CD (along with 3 MCD’s) . The quality is acceptable as Metal Blade has given these guys the stability to make it over the years, so we are treated to another plain but satisfactory presentation of art, lyrics, good production and so on. Ancient has always struck me as non-descript in the sense that they do what they want some albums are more death metal, some are more black, some are more gothic, image and style changes making it hard to pin down. Night Visit has a darker, slower, horror theme with songs about werewolves and vampires and perhaps nightmares. Some additional female vocals, violins and so on add a touch of flair and Grom keeps driving along at a good pace. Overtime this might become one of the more respected works in the bands lengthy catalogue if anyone pays attention.
Track Listing

1. Envision The Beast
2. Rape The Children of Abel
3. Horroble
4. Night Visit
5. Lycanthropy
6. Night Of The Stygian Souls
7. Fuel The Flames
8. The Truth Unveiled
9. The Arctic Mirage
10. Out In The Haunted Woods

Lineup

Aphazel-Vocals, Guitar, keyboards
Jesus Christ-Guitar
Dhilorz-Bass
Grom-Drums

Contact

N/A


Next review: » Ancient Ascendant - Echoes and Cinder
Previous review: » Anchor - Pain Inside





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