Ancient VVisdom - Sacrificial
Magic Bullet Records
Doomy Alternative Rock/Metal
10 songs (36' 48")
Release year: 2014
Reviewed by Andy

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Texas-based occult power trio Ancient VVisdom have moved towards metal territory in their latest LP, Sacrificial. Where Deathlike was basically folk rock with dark lyrics of the sort that would belong in a metal song, Sacrificial's chugging guitars and dragging riffs are a welcome dose of doom. Combined with their songs' simple but effective melodies, the result is a hazy meld of doomy alt-rock and metal that is a delight to the ears.

After an intro, Chaos Will Reign starts the album off with what sounds like the same folk riffs the band had on previous albums, but quickly supplanted by their new instrument of choice: A chugging, overdriven guitar playing riffs that sound a bit like an alternative band decided to get into doom metal. There's no soloing to speak of, everything is basic and stripped down, but that gives the sound a primitive power that a more polished or elaborate approach would ruin. Nathan Opposition sings over the top with layered vocals in a careless, youthful voice that sounds like it belongs in a band whose main influences were Pentagram and Weezer, and it matches perfectly with the dirt-simple riffs. Blood Offering and The Devil's Work continue that sound with slightly faster songs containing a mostly single-note riff, changing chords when they get into their catchy choruses. The lyrics haven't gotten any more pleasant than Deathlike, and while their endless references to the occult can get pretty cheesy, Blind Leading the Blind breaks that pattern a bit with its equally despairing -- but paranormal-free -- lyrics and a relentless beat.

Every time Opposition raises his voice to a shout, such as on Worm Ridden Skull, the result is unimpressive, so it's a good thing he sticks almost solely to his clear singing. None of those shouts ever hurt any of the songs though; with the exception of Sacrifice, there is not one track on here that is not at least a little bit catchy, and Worm Ridden Skull is probably one of the catchiest. City of Stone's overdubbed lead guitar doesn't get any less primitive than the rest of their rock palette, even with the only soloing on the album, but that showcases Opposition's harmonies, and the only get better on the final track, We Are Damnation, where he does a stellar job on the chorus, doing that three-note vocal bend on some of the words that Katatonia's Jonas Renkse does on their later albums.

This is a revolutionary step for Ancient VVisdom, and a welcome one for their metal-loving listeners. Added to the sturdy little melodies they featured in previous albums is a newfound heaviness to hammer them home into the ear, entirely free of classic-rock pretensions that make certain other modern occult rock bands noisome after a while. Sacrificial is a very easy album to love, whether one leans toward metal or just hard rock, and deserves a listen by either kind of fan.

Killing Songs :
Chaos Will Reign, Blind Leading the Blind, Worm Ridden Skull, We Are Damnation
Andy quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Ancient VVisdom that we have reviewed:
Ancient VVisdom - Deathlike reviewed by Koeppe and quoted 70 / 100
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