Ancient VVisdom – 33 (Magic Bullet)Thursday, 5th October 2017
Four albums in and still operating without a real drummer, it may be nigh time for Ancient VVisdom to consider adding a real sticksman. Reason being, they’re staring at greatness from across the street. Quite capable of penning hummable, dreary-man tunes with a satanic slant (it’s a key element of the band, but not their defining element), Ancient VVisdom caught a quick buzz upon the release of 2012’s A Godlike Inferno and their Deathlike follow-up a year later, but have failed to get to that ever-difficult next level. On their fourth full-length 33, it appears the Ohioans are very close to treading creative water.
Vocalist Nathan Opposition pretty much puts the band on his shoulders. His soulful croon is easy to lap up, particularly when he dives into those airy choruses. His more brooding side on “In the Name of Satan” has long been a secondary element, but pay close attention and there’s finely-crafted vocal lines and melodies. Opposition, like always, is accompanied by largely melodic acoustic guitars and simple, effective distorted guitars, but the catch and primary sticking point is the basic kick-drum. Since there is a complete absence of a snare drum, the band’s songs can occasionally drift into same-y territory; you feel like you’re congealing as one with the songs when they can be so much more. (“The Infernal One,” for example, is one of the few moments when things kick into gear.)
Odd, since the kick-drum arrangement is one of the (many) elements that makes Ancient VVisdom so unique. Frankly, the band are too good of songwriters to be perpetually bound to this setup. On 33, Ancient VVisdom display once again they are just a hop and skip away from escaping this tight little niche they’ve burrowed themselves into.