2013's Heart of Oak was one of our favorite debuts of that year, a progressive extreme metal powerhouse of an album that signaled the arrival of a hot new band in the form of Canada's Anciients. Three years later they've upped the ante with their sophomore release Voice of the Void for Season of Mist, a 9-track affair that sees the band take their Opeth-meets-Mastodon style one step further into journeys unknown. The riffs are monstrous, the arrangements fluctuate between complex, atmospheric, and sludge laden, and the vocals alternating death metal growl with alluring melodic clean singing. To say these guys have grown into this style and greatly matured in just a few short years would be an understatement.
I can't stress enough just how powerful the guitar work is here on Voice of the Void; from the weaving, intricate riffs of "Following the Voice" to the sledgehammer, classic metal power chording of the epic "Buried in Sand", these guys don't kid around and slay anything in their wake. The clean vocals take center stage on the proggy track "Worshipper", as acrobatic drum fills battle weaving lead guitar and pummeling riffs, while the crushing "Pentacle" combines doom, sludge, black metal, and prog for a truly unique listening experience. You have to give plenty of credit to the production here, which really allows all the instruments to breathe and fully differentiate from each other, and equal space is given to the vocals so not one element drowns out the other. The growls & clean vocals shoot to the heavens on the dynamic "Ibex Eye", and both "My Home, My Gallows" and "Incantations" are just incredible examples of how progressive rock and extreme metal can be combined to great effect, the former injecting plenty of rampaging death metal elements and the latter a complex yet melodic ripper with more than a few hints of vintage Between the Buried and Me.
Though most of the tracks are quite lengthy and contain plenty of twists, turns, and moods, the band have expertly crafted each and every one of them so they flow nicely and never lose the listener. Most of all, the sheer power that permeates the entire album is just so massive that it's utterly impossible to tear yourself away for the entire ride. Voice of the Void is easily one of the most impressive metal albums to come out this year, and I think Anciients are set to take their place as one of the most lethal acts on the scene. Outstanding!
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. Following The Voice
2. Buried In Sand
6. Ibex Eye
7. My Home, My Gallows