Released: 2013, Prosthetic Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Waaaaaaaaay back when, back in the almost Proto Metal era, were a coterie of bands, who far more than just using lyrical rhetoric to shock audiences with songs of the Occult and Satanism, were genuinely practitioners of dark majick, most legendary of these bands were Coven and Black Widow. Alongside them were lesser-known yet still very influential acts such as Comus, Zior, Salem Mass, Pagan Altar, and Jacula. A respectful nod should also be paid to Genesis P Orridge and Psychic TV
Of course in the ‘80’s, those Geordie scallywags Venom, and the Great Dane King Diamond, who playfully and joyously (not to say totally naively) invoked the name of Satan for shock value, directly leading to the later formation of the Black Metal movement, and the rest, led by initially by blackened hordes from Norway (as they say) is history.
Over recent years, a purebred revival in Occult Rock music, (as opposed to BM) has sprung up, bringing the Morning Star’s name to a much wider and thus more musically receptive audience. Leading this new ‘charge’ of course are The Devil’s Blood. Year Of The Goat, Blood Ceremony, Ghost, alongside are raft of fellow arcane devotees such as - Jex Thoth, Rose Kemp, Devil, Riti Occulti, Bloody Hammers, Seremonia, Sabbath Assembly, and now (of course) Ancient VVisdom.
Hailing from Austin, Texas this alchemically honed quartet now presents us with their sophomore release, and a thing of sullen yet creepingly rich beauty it is too. Hauntingly atmospheric, serenely and morbidly graceful, it’s a musical trip into musical darkened chambers and beguiling stranger planes, a loving fusion of intricate acoustic and raucous electric guitars, with singer Nathan Opposition’s impassioned voice, calling us to him, and drawing us along with him on this mystical journey.
While it would have been perhaps easy or comfortable for the band to explore the same satanic and ritualistic themes of their mighty debut, they have chosen a different path. This may sound like a dichotomy to you when talking about such a dark band, BUT the new album is lyrically almost optimistic/hopeful.
Though the imagery hints at certain catastrophic events predicted thousands of years ago, it is actually seemingly more about overcoming those end-times. How this will sit with the grim and often nihilistically humour challenged Black Metal ‘purists’ is quite another matter entirely.
Listening repeatedly to this Magnum Opus, I find myself asking something over and over. I am the only person who can hear sonorous musical familiarities to Chris Goss & The Masters Of Reality? Surely I can’t be can I? In places it drifts along almost lazily, drifting in an almost enchantingly hypnotic groove, in others it is strident and powerful, yet the balance between the two sides is never damaging or distracting.
Of the 12 songs found here, there are no flaws, no weak links, no fillers, just powerful, beautifully crafted pieces, lyrically as intelligent too, it’s a stunning combination. The use of simple percussion and gently effective synths (which enrich yet never overpower) make for a luscious overall sound, which when produced with elegant sympathy, makes for a wondrous finished album. Sometimes such an end product is too polished, yet here, by the intelligent pairing of Jason Buntz and jack Control, it sounds perfectly balanced and very organic. A massively impressive release, it is my real pleasure to be able to commend “Deathlike” to you unreservedly! Simply marvelous!
Review by Satanic Muttley