An Ancient Tale Of Evil And Light.
Review for the most recent album from Gods Of Ancient, Historia Mali Et Lucis, out now right here!
An endless war between ancient gods and the struggles of the non believers, a tale as old as any human emotion, as old as story telling itself, and this story is quite intriguing. Said to be from the perspective of a nonbeliever being forced through mystical realms of the ancient gods showing him the struggles and strife of his ancestors until his own personal ascension and eventual clash with the god, Pleadus, who is the embodiment of pure evil. Will this individual be victorious or will he fail and lay in eternal slumber with his ancestors?
Gods Of Ancient hail from Bulgaria and play a very nice mix of old school death metal with slight doom metal undertones, meaning it's quite heavy, yet gloomy and oppressive at the same time. This album is a nice showcase of those old school death metal bands such as old Morbid Angel, old Unleashed, Celtic Frost, and many other classic bands come to mind and brings me to a place within my memories of the first time hearing those bands. While going over this album, often times I found myself listening to a track a few times over just because the complexities and brutal riffs presented here on this album are so inherently "classic death metal", bringing forth a complex and unique experience with this music, that I began to wonder how well these songs would fare if they were created and released back in those old glory days of the death metal scene. I'd wager that the scene would have welcomed Gods Of Ancient with open arms back then, and so should all of you.
Opening this album up with the track, The Realm Unknown showcases some heavy playing by the band members and highlights their attention to the musical direction of their songwriting, almost as if we are on a journey here. From filthy and groovy riffs, to soul searching clean sections, one can tell that this album was a labor of love right out of the gates. Tribal drums are added to the mid song sections accompanied by some, dare I say it(?), Peter Steele-esque vampiric clean spoken vocals before a nightmarish landscape seems to open up before us with the music, going off into the creepy heavy realm before coming back and hitting you with a battle axe. I can tell that this album is going to be a adventure.
Pleadus comes in next and with it it brings some very disgustingly awesome riff work that is just fanfuckingtastic! I love the old Domination era Morbid Angel sound here. This song has a rather interesting take to typical heavy death metal riffing in this track, they play a nice clean guitar over the heavy distorted riffing, making it sound almost unsettling in nature and seems to add a sense of urgency and uncertainty to the music. A heavy as hell mid song break down then lurches forth and brings a solid solo section as the song winds down to a freakishly chilling ending. A very unique song I have to admit and I will also admit that I played this one back a few times to really appreciate the riffs in this track, there are quite a few catchy ones spread about.
Picking things up, next we have Vetus Supere! A nice pit inducing track, Vetus Supere! has a vibe within it that just begs to see this one performed live. The drumming in this track are well placed and lends to the driving force of the guitars and bass. There are some seriously heavy moments in this song and the low end of the bass work really shines through here in this one. I have to commend these guys on a fantastic mid section to this song, a nice interlude comes in and builds up into a smashing riff fest and shredding solo that anyone would be proud of before bludgeoning you to death with a killer ending, bravo! That was intense!
Now, the next song, Serdica, I am very familiar with and was the song that John from Metal For The Masses showed me to check out before I had even heard of Gods Of Ancient. Serdica is a punishing track that showcases what Gods Of Ancient is all about in it's simplest form. A very heavy song that holds no punches and hits deep from the caverns of the realms of the ancients themselves, Serdica delivers on just about every front that a good old school death metal song should, all the way to the headbanging ending. If you haven't heard these guys yet, I implore you to dive into their music by way of this track, it'll get you in the right mindset for their material, It's just such a classic example of what good old school death metal should sound like.
Dulo Death March is up next and it creeps and gallops along from beginning to end. Damn, I have to say it again about these guys music, it truly would feel right at home during the 90's death metal scene, without a doubt. This album so far feels like the most sincerest love letter to that era of death metal, it's just so good to listen to new bands being able to tap into this vein of metal once again. Metal is definitely in good hands here ladies and gentlemen. Dulo Death March is one heavy hitting song here, I challenge you to NOT headbang whilst listening to this track.
An almost gothic feeling washes over the music of the next track, Theoktist, that blends in rather well with the dark riffs in this song, which I think is my personal favorite off this album. Theotkist just kicks ass, plain and simple. With such a rumbling deep end on this track, it makes the bassist in me smile like a kid in a candy shop. Some old Entombed sounding riff work really drives this song even during the slower parts that are more to the tune of My Dying Bride or old Massacre. The vocals seem to be the highlight of this track with almost painful and gut wrenching gutturals and agonizing sounding belches that just leave you feeling uneasy and a bit queasy, but it's all very fitting to the song itself and add a clear and intentional atmosphere to this song. Monstrous would be a fitting word to use to describe the vocals in this track, they're pretty impressive.
Mars Ultor is next and immediately I'm hearing the likes of old Possessed or Slayer with a blistering opening before the hammer drops and slows things down to a doom metal type section. The doom section doesn't last long here though as this song seems to dance back and forth between the up-tempo riffs and the more doom type approach and it simply works with their style. Eerie chanting comes in during the middle of the song and helps to carry it in a rather intense build up that leads it's way back to the faster riffs before closing out the song. This track was a rather interesting one. It had a plethora of distinct styles and time changes within the song, but never once did it feel burdensome or overwhelming to listen to like so many other bands who try to pull off this sort of song who tend to get lost in translation along the way, Gods Of Ancient nailed it on this track and pulled it off with flying colors. Not once did I feel lost trying to figure out where the song was headed despite everything that was going on in this track, they kept it glued together and it felt solid and cohesive. Killer work on this one!
Now, the next song is part one of a two part section that closes out the album. Ascension 1: Hills Of Troyan is a rather beautiful acoustic guitar piece with some nice orchestration and guitar solos throughout. It's definitely a stage setting piece for the closing track, Ascension 2: Kolober. Kolober begins with a slow paced build up of an opening before coming at you with swords drawn. I have no idea why but this entire album gave me vibes of a Transylvanian landscape that's drenched in blood soaked battle, it's the only way I can describe it and this song easily helps with those images. This song just feels very war driven and punishing. The feelings that this track evokes are complicated, at certain points it feels very depressing, and yet at other sections of the song, it feels very energetic and powerful, the complexities within this particular track make for a rather "epic" feeling experience to close out what is a very exciting and formidable album by Gods Of Ancient. This one is a very well thought out track that hits on many emotions and levels as you listen to it.
Gods Of Ancient, these guys are a band that you shouldn't sleep on. Their music is distinctly unique to them and their musical heritage, all while sticking to the styles of the bands that you can tell they love to listen to. Their old school death metal approach is quite honestly refreshing to hear in an age of musical mixing and over produced studio metal. This old school sound truly will never die and Gods Of Ancient are proof that the old ways are still alive and kicking. Historia Mali Et Lucis is a prime example of how to pay homage to the bands of old while breathing fresh air into their old style and it is just incredible to hear when done right. I give this album a solid 8 out of 10. This seriously was a pleasure to sit down and listen to. So many times it brought me back to those classic albums that we all love and still listen to, all while bringing me on a journey of many riffs and emotions along the way. This album is a time capsule, as if all the death metal gods put their best riffs and studio mixes into it and Gods Of Ancient were the ones who found it and are upholding these moments of death metal history with the utmost care and respect. I highly doubt that you'll regret supporting Gods Of Ancient and if you don't already, give them a follow on their social media pages and show them your support and grab this brutally amazing album over on their Band Camp page, you will not be disappointed.
Review done by Joshuah Jones, the bassist of The Obsidian Resurrection.
Gods Of Ancient Interview with Metal For The Masses Radio Show