Anciients – Voice of the Void (Season of Mist)Tuesday, 1st November 2016
At a recent summer festival, it was uttered to this scribe that Mastodon has three singers, none of which can actually sing. Now, this idea isn’t anything new; Mastodon’s vocals—or lack thereof—have long been the band’s glaring weakness, but it’s almost like the football quote of “If you have three quarterbacks, you actually have none.” A similar formula applies for Vancouver’s Anciients, who, like Mastodon, have three dudes listed in the vocal spot. The only difference, as shown across their second album Voice of the Void, is that Anciients can actually sing. Furthermore, they’ve skirted past the sophomore slump.
The band’s 2013 Heart of Oak debut was a bit of progressive prog mish-mash, toeing the Mastodon company line a little too much. Voice of the Void is the sign of Anciients coming into their own, whether it’s on the hefty “Worshipper” (total heaviness), sprawling “Ibex Eye” (watch out for those spiraling riffs), or graceful “Serpents,” which is one of the several occasions where Anciients’ obvious ability to blend agreeable clean vocals with ‘70s touches. It’s quite the offset to most of the album’s broad-based arrangements and stout riff action, which as implied, is demonstrative of a band whose technical ability is in line with their adventurous song structures.
Rightfully tagged as a progressive metal band, Anciients have lived up to their lofty billing on Voice of the Void. It’s a step towards having their own identity, and out of the mindless, slug-o-rama that is Mastodon worship, a field that remains ballooned and has allowed lesser bands to make headway. On Voice of the Void, Anciients shows would-be copycats who’s boss.