Finland Pagan Black Metal
Formed in Finland in 2002, and with the release of four demos, an EP, and a full-length album, ANCESTORS BLOOD are no newcomers to Pagan Black Metal, with their experience being clearly evident in their second full-length release “A Moment of Clarity”. Although having worked with a variety of labels from different countries in the past, this album was done entirely by the band themselves, and whilst this often means the resulting end product is raw and messy, ANCESTORS BLOOD have proven themselves to be one of the exceptions.
The first thing that stood out about this album was the stunning cover art, which conveys all the darkness, turmoil, and sepulchre beauty of Black Metal, whilst still incorporating heathen elements; this exquisite image has it all, from despair to beauty, from tumult to tranquillity. The second noticeable feature of the album was its title, which immediately brought to mind DEATH’s song by the same name, forcing me to resist the temptation of listening to “The Sound of Perseverance”; instead, I have a story to tell about ANCESTORS BLOOD and the power it holds.
Bookmarked by the “Intro” and “Outro” tracks commonly adhered to by ANCESTORS BLOOD, the remaining 6 tracks which make up almost 45 minutes worth of Pagan Black Metal are heavily driven by the keyboards. This very synth-y sound gives the album a much lighter feel, resulting in Black Metal influences sounding more like Ambient or Atmospheric Black Metal, although I would definitely shy away from going as far as calling it Symphonic. I tend to dislike the heavy use of keyboards in music like this, as it often detracts from the quality and gives the compositions a pedestrian and kitsch sound. However, ANCESTORS BLOOD have done well in fading the keyboards into the background enough so that they serve to highlight and bridge together melodies, rather than brashly blaring out from the forefront of the other instruments.
The impetus behind this album, according to ANCESTORS BLOOD, is to take the listener on an abstruse and heathen voyage through the landscape of the band’s native home. However, I find that whilst the ebb and flow of the melodies guides the listener, this is done in such a way that conveys the majestic sceneries whilst still allowing listeners to explore concepts further for themselves, and I enjoyed this compromise between passing on one’s own impressions whilst still leaving them open to interpretation.
One of the risks of creating atmospheric albums like this is that they can start to sound uninteresting, but ANCESTORS BLOOD have managed to avoid this for the most part, with tracks like “Ritual of the Sacred Dance” picking up the pace a bit, ensuring that the album has variation. All the same, whilst repetition is useful for building atmosphere, parts of “Legend of the Horizon” can be excessively monotonous, although this is soon forgiven thanks to the very Old School sounding guitar solo towards the end of the track, with another soaring solo gracing the song “Ritual of the Sacred Dance”. Other tracks, such as “From the Ruins…” create a elevating atmosphere intertwined with darker and murkier elements, permitting the more Black Metal influences contained in the album to clearly shine through, which further diversifies the album, and helps to give the sensation of embarking on a mystical journey.
Overall, “A Moment of Clarity” is a strong release. Although perhaps not containing anything earth-shatteringly unique, it certainly is a soothing, beautifully composed, and well-structured album, with “Outro” rounding everything off perfectly and bringing the listener gently back down to earth after their celestial voyage through the musical realms created by ANCESTORS BLOOD. Review by metal-temple.com
2. Legend of the Horizon
3. Ancestors Blood (Part II)
4. From the Ruins…
5. A Moment of Clarity
6. Ritual of the Sacred Dance
7. Puu Iänikuinen