I remember when I first heard Ancient VVisdom – I was drunk off my goddamn tits at the Housecore Horror Festival in Austin, Texas, and I was surprised at first by the tone of the band – a tone that didn’t seem to match up to the straight ahead metal that was being played at the fest, but in the same breath, it was.
The hulking form of Nathan Opposition threw chains around and bore a specific style of clean singing that set Ancient VVisdom out from the crowd. After checking out their albums once at home, I found that I really enjoyed. Songs like “Deathlike”, and “The Devil’s Work” are in my regular playlist rotation. Now, the band is more rock than metal, and more ‘goth’ than growly, and that’s acceptable to me. However, if you’re looking for something with a hardcore edge, you might want to skip these guys, because that’s just not going to be found.
I’ve always been drawn to music that has a straight ahead sing a long type of vibe but doesn’t shy away from dark lyrical content, and I think this is what really solidified my appreciation for the band. I admire their ability to be their own in a genre that seems about conforming to a specific brand of non-conformity.
The band is led by a pair of brothers – Nathan Opposition and Michael the Dark Angel. It’s interesting to see how their evolution of sound and appearance has changed, moving from studded and patched jackets and corpse paint to a sleek all black refined appearance so popular in that neofolk/neogoth image.
I was most pleased to receive an early copy of their latest release “33” and was surprised and pleased to discover a very noticeable shift in the sound of the band. “33” moves along with the band’s dark almost Southern rock style towards a neo-folkish sound that is reminiscent of Death in June, Boyd Rice, and King Dude (and it’s no surprise really – Opposition has stated he’s a fan of Boyd Rice). The Death in June influence is apparent with the use of percussion instruments, and a very “folk” style to the vocals. I suppose it’s only fitting the names the two brothers use – Opposition and Dark Angel. Nathan has a beautiful voice, and it’s used very well on “33”. Given the high Satanic, Laveyan and Aleister Crowley based themes of the album, I think a straight up metal sound would make it cheap. And make no bones about it, this album is very Satanic. The lack of a hard heavy metal sound does not preclude that.
Now, some of the themes on this album can be quite heavy handed and somewhat repetitious, themes of “redemption being nigh”, “lucifer is light / lucifer is love”, “the great beast”, “love under will / love is the law”. For some, this can be seen to be kind of an intro to some of the most recognizable and basic tenents of Satanic / left hand thought, and for others this will be completely mind blowing and revelatory. For me, a lot of these themes and lyrical pieces are in the former category of basic Satanic truth. I’m a long time reader of occult literature, and born into a family of practicing heathen pagans, so this is my own personal bias at play. I would have liked to have seen Opposition’s take on some specific aspects of the left hand path, something a little darker and less popular in the common vernacular (Gullveig, Kali-Ma, Lilith). However, this doesn’t diminish the value of these themes for many other listeners, and this doesn’t mean that the evolution of sound and lyrical content will not continue to grow within the concept of Ancient VVisdom.
I think the only theme that kind of stuck out as being slightly strange was the “satan is my only friend”, piece from “The Great Beast”. And oddly enough, “The Great Beast” and “Rise Fallen Angel” were my least favourite tracks off the album. I think I really liked the straight forward folk type. I really enjoyed, “Light of Lucifer” (not to be confused with Lucifer’s the Light Of The World done by King Dude) and “True Will”. I really think this was a fairly strong album overall, and would recommend it to seasoned metalheads and spooky goths alike.
“33” is out October 13th on Magic Bullet Records.