"Voice Of The Void"

By Lord Randall

Prog. For those of us old enough to remember, prog-rock. Well, thanks to DREAM THEATER’s 1992 "Images And Words" (and that sad-ass, laughable video for ‘Pull Me Under’) bringing the genre into mass consciousness, we have prog-metal. You can hem and haw about how QUEENSRYCHE and FATES WARNING were doing it before and better and you wouldn’t be wrong, but the fact remains – largely due to MTV exposure while trying to defibrillate the commercially dying hard rock/metal genre while “alternative” danced in the spotlight– DREAM THEATER was for a time our greatest hope. 

All that to say this. Sometimes the “prog” tag can do more harm to a band than good. It can be argued that the moment you call yourself/your music progressive, you’ve ceased to be. For a band in 2016 – especially a band like ANCIIENTS – the “prog” can weigh heavy on its shoulders, causing them to feel they have to “out-technique” their last outing in order to remain vital when they would’ve been better served by “simply” exploring the sonic palette currently available – playing to their strengths, as it were. Vancouver’s ANCIIENTS seem to have realized this on "Voice Of The Void", turning what could’ve been a disjointed mish-mash of ideas and fractal inversions into a solid second showing. From the near-regal opener to the TRIBE AFTER TRIBE/KING’S X nods in the harmonies of ‘Worshipper’, ANCIIENTS shows itself to be a band willing to leave extreme technicality sacrificed on the altar of Song and Memorability, a quality rare in today’s djent-rified would-be “progressive” community. Witness ‘Ibex Eye’, the melody line of which I was pleasantly surprised to find knocking ‘round my head over an hour after first listen. The pastoral beginning of ‘Serpents’ winds, tendril-like around stone, recalling GREEN CARNATION’s more somber moments, and, while I’d like to hear more vocal variation within the context of ANCIIENT as a whole, it’s a small gripe when the rest of "Voice Of The Void" packs as much of a punch as it does.