Album number two from Anciients, Vancouver’s answer to Neurosis, comes roughly three-and-a-half years after their breakout debut, Heart of Oak. So it’s been a little way since we’ve heard from these guys, but it’s safe to say that crafting epic-length tuneage takes a little time.
To wit, three of the nine songs of Voice of the Void hover around the 10-minute mark, and none are shorter than five minutes, aside from an instrumental interlude. The album kicks off with “Following the Voice,” a grinding, winding, seven-minute piece of post-sludge with a few aggressive riffs that border on death metal. Then we get a pair of epics back-to-back, beginning with “Buried in Sand,” which clocks in at 10:46. This one wastes no time in getting down to brass ticks with a furious death-metal attack, but before long, the dynamic shifts to progressive metal riffs and clean vocals, albeit briefly, before another melo-death assault.
They slow things down to a sludgy crawl just past the two-minute mark with a whole buncha heavy breakdowns, leading into a neck-snapping stop-start section accompanied by clean singing. A Neurosian mellow passage begets some palm-muted thrash-metal riffs as the vocals soar even higher, before we get another section of heavy hardcore breakdowns. This tune certainly contains several twists and turns!
“Worshipper” starts off with a slow buzz, leading into a heavy downtuned doom riff a la Crowbar, backed by a military-style snare drum. This one remains on low and slow for a while, with a strong Neurosis vibe, before setting the dial to “thrash” around the 2:45 mark, coming off like a more melodic Howl or maybe Black Tusk. Things get more technical, without losing any steam, around the seven-minute mark. Shades of Voivod, perhaps?
A couple tracks later, the 10-minute “Ibex Eye” comes crashing in with some heavy riffs before taking a more jagged approach, leading us down a path that could almost be considered groovy. Probably a few Devin Townsend fingerprints on here, a blend of his SYL stuff and later, spacey progressive material—but that’s not to say this is generic or copycat at all as Anciients blaze their own path.