If you like heavy metal, especially the themes it deals with — mortality, Satan and the end — then Ancient VVisdom is for you. Sure, they don’t scream or punctuate verses with shred-tastic guitar solos and double-bass drumming. But it’s just as brutal and heavy. This Texas “death acoustic rock” band is fronted by a man who goes by the name of Nathan Opposition. While their first album A Godlike Inferno dealt with Satan and hell, their sophomore effort Deathlike is gaining much mileage in the metal world thanks to a fresh, unconventional approach to heavy music.
With dense, reverb-laden guitars, acoustic guitars and drums, Ancient VVisdom trudge through their dark songs about — you guessed it — death. With a familiar throwback to 1990s grunge bands like Alice in Chains in terms of vocals and sound, songs such as the depressing ‘Far Beyond Good and Evil’ are twisted to suit metal themes. The track list can easily be confused for a typical metal album, with the first two tracks called ‘The Beginning’ and ‘Let the End Begin’. Ancient VVisdom’s unique brand of slow, scary music is best enjoyed with the lights turned off, on an especially dark and suggestively foreboding night. ‘Deathlike’, the title track, stands out for perfecting the band’s formula. “I am the end/From the beginning/Or have you just begun to die?” asks Opposition in the most haunting and existential manner.
There are only 12 tracks on Deathlike, but they run the risk of tiring those who don’t want to listen to simple variations on the same theme. Even reading song titles — ‘Death Or Victory’, ‘Waiting To Die’, and ‘Never Live Again’ — might become a reason to predict the songs and skip them entirely. But I’d highly recommend finishing the album. A blues-influenced drone-jam ‘Last Man on Earth’ sounds surprisingly happy, probably reflecting what it feels like to be the “last to die”.
They really celebrate death by the end of the album, on the especially electric ‘Here is the Grave’, by which time you’ve begun to love the idea of death as much as Ancient VVisdom. That’s mission accomplished for them.
Bottomline: Best enjoyed with the lights turned off, on a dark night.
Deathlike, Ancient VVisdom, Prosthetic Records, Rs 120 (iTunes MP3)