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Released: 2014, Self Released
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Ancient Dreams were formed in the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois back in 2012. The release of their first self-released two song demo MMXIII coincided with the band's performance at the 2013 installment of the Ragnarökkr Metal Apocalypse festival. The band later reissued the first demo in a limited edition pressing of cassettes via underground cult label Swords & Chains Records featuring live bonus tracks recorded at Ragnarökkr Metal Apocalypse. Less than a year later, Ancient Dreams are back with another two song demo of doom inspired traditional heavy metal entitled CRIMSON MAIDEN.
The upbeat melodic metal of "Death Maiden" comes first and offers the listener a bridge to the musical stylings of the NWOBHM movement circa 1982. The production is suitably raw and anything but polished or glossy sounding and for this kind of music's sake that is a good thing. Ancient Dreams vocalist Albert Rybka really showcases his vocal range on this track, shifting from the gruff mid-range of the verses and chorus to the higher upper octave banshee wails towards the end of "Death Maiden". The background gang vocals make this more of a team effort and add some extra power to the chorus.
"Crimson Flag" gallops along at a steady pace, marching off to battle with some nice ride cymbal accents I might add, courtesy of drummer Pat Gloeckle who alongside bassist Jason Baygood make up the band's steady and capable rhythm section. At 7:22, this track is undoubtedly the more epic of the two songs that make up the CRIMSON MAIDEN release. Around the six minute mark, guitarist Lee Smith conjures forth some "Sad Wings" era Priest inspired riffing as Albert really nails some higher notes.
MMXIII was a good debut two song demo outing but I have to say that I enjoyed CRIMSON MAIDEN a little bit more. This is a band that is true to their heavy metal roots and considering that they are by no means trying to reinvent the wheel, they do have a pretty unique sound of their own. I would recommend to all fans of underground US steel.
1. Death Maiden
2. Crimson Flag
Lee Smith - Guitars
Jason Baygood - Bass
Albert Rybka - Vocals
Patrick Gloeckle - Drums
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