02. Let The End Begin
03. Life On Earth
05. Far Beyond
07. Look Alive
08. Waiting To Die
09. Death Or Victory
10. Last Man On Earth
11. Never Live Again
12. Here Is The Grave
Ancient VVisdom are among the upper echelons of the occult rock revival; this Texan dark acoustic rock group spearhead the popularization of modern doom rock along with the likes of Ghost and the now defunct The Devil’s Blood. The potent return to our proto-metal roots is a much welcomed contrast to our sleek and technical overproduction that is so commonplace in today’s underground music scene. Ancient VVisdom’s sophomore album Deathlike builds upon the group’s unmatched modernization of Satanic folk rock, and does so with conviction.
For those unfamiliar with Ancient VVisdom’s breed of evil, the band acquaints their Satanic message through minimalistic ghostly country/western tones backed and a thin smokey haze of psychedelia. Haunting vocal melodies evocative of Alice in Chains croon over a campfire ritual atmosphere in a particular form of Sabbath worship that effectively tows the line between nostalgia and furtherance. Ancient VVisdom are nearly unparallelled in this fashion when considering the band’s execution, at least on such a scale of early hype and critical success. This is expanded upon in Deathlike, where the band’s understated intensity and strangely subdued epics ironically feel much more lifelike. The songwriting is much more memorable and on-point, with the album’s title track in particular acting as standout track with a mighty hook that outshines any of the band’s previous material.
Though the qualities of the band’s acoustic/folk sound and theatrics innately lends the band an air of dark mysticism that packs a thoughtful punch when given its due airtime, Deathlike also suffers the limitations of its instrumentation. It’s a catch-22; the very quality that makes Ancient VVisdom such an outstanding act is also what limits their range of expression and dynamic. Despite being a collection of great songs, consumed as an entire piece, Deathlike is bogged down in trudging tempos and little in the way of variety in sonic or emotional tone. With this in mind though, Ancient VVisdom simply can’t be seen writing fast-paced songs in major key. They know their niche and utilize their talents well, making Deathlike an ambitious record nearly undeterred by their self-confinement.
These fickle matters only spell death for the band when it comes to those without enough patience to allow Deathlike to flourish, but at the end of the day, a band with as many subtleties as Ancient VVisdom would be lost on listeners who only seek thrilling first impressions anyway. The songs on Deathlike, when actively embraced and allowed repeated listens for gestation, are surprisingly and ridiculously catchy. Apocalyptic themes of religion and misanthrope sung through pained vocals over somber American folk instrumentation isn’t exactly a sound that can often be described as ‘accessible,’ but that’s what makes Deathlike so special. While it is often true that misery loves company, even the most sinister undertones can be transformed into a positive and moving catharsis. Such is Deathlike.
Ancient VVisdom – Deathlike gets…