Anciients Heart of Oak

Anciients Heart of Oak
8
This is an impressive debut full-length from Vancouver, BC's Anciients, who deliver a prog-tinged stoner odyssey with excellent Southern metal riffs all over the place. The band are nothing if not highly ambitious, as the wide range of sounds demonstrates, Anciients shifting from stoner rock to blasting death-lite to tricky, tech-y prog like no one's business. Album highlight "Flood and Fire" has a big opening riff like something Cave-In might have pulled off in their Jupiter-era prime, and closer "For Lisa" is a full-on '70s-homage trip-out instrumental, in all the best ways. "Falling in Line" straddles the border between technical thrash and progressive stoner, creating a riff-heavy sound that they can safely, proudly and confidently call their own. Sometimes the variety is a bit jarring though; I'm not entirely sold on the blast beats peppered throughout the disc, sounding just this side of jolting instead of an aesthetic addition. And while they could edit some of these eight-minute tunes down a bit, they're clearly comfortable doing what they're doing, so good on 'em. (Season of Mist)