Anciients – Heart of Oak (Season of Mist)Tuesday, 7th May 2013
Getting really tired of bands not spelling their names properly…it’s not that cute, and frankly, will only serve to confuse those who are more easily confused than we already are. Petty gripes aside, Anciients are a potential Mastodon-clone hailing from Canada (Vancouver, to be precise), a locale that usually lends itself to at least being quirky, and quirky in a good way. The band’s Heart of Oak debut is somewhat a bit of that; it’s more of a branch off the Remission or Leviathan tree. All that is missing is a guitarist with a broken nose.
With Heart of Oak, you’re going to get those clear sludge riffs (is that an oxymoron?), along with manic drum fills, the type Brann Dailor has come to master. However, Anciients present these in a much less manical manner; they’re almost tame in comparison to some of the explosive moments Mastodon has popped out over the years, not to mention the lack of country melody. However, “Giants” demonstrates some quality riff flairs, while “Faith and Oath” heads up what amounts to the best aspects of the band’s sound: relatively clean vocals, crisp arrangements and the occasional grapple with progressive elements.
Given that there’s lots of young, green bands trying to climb the Masto-ladder, Anciients can at least be partially forgiven for their lack of identity. Heart of Oak is a very green album in every way, but don’t sleep on it. The riffs and gargantuan chug are probably a steamroller live.