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Review: Ancient Thrones - The Veil
Ancient Thrones
The Veil

Label: Independent
Year released: 2020
Duration: 57:38
Tracks: 10
Genre: Black/Death

Rating: 4/5

Review online: October 5, 2020
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers Rating
The Veil

Rated 4.2/5 (84%) (5 Votes)

Starting life as a sort of Blackened Traditional Metal band called Abysseral Throne, Ancient Thrones (named after a line in "Astral Blood" by Wolves in the Throne Room) have made a bit of a stir in their local scene, opening for big name acts and even having their EP Storming The Black Gate nominated for an East Coast Music Award in 2017. This success probably helped to embolden them in what appears to be a change of direction towards something more ambitious and cerebral, and while I can't say it's without problems, The Veil is a solid step in accomplishing that goal.

With this new incarnation, Ancient Thrones has moved into strict Black/Death territory, producing an album filled with pummeling riffs, intricate song structures, and technical musicianship that's leavened by atmospheric segments and epic, sometimes audacious melodies that border on Cascadian. The production matches this style perfectly, being heavy and abrasive while allowing the songs enough room to stretch out, though the drum sound is a little thin. This is all in service to a story based on the soul of a dead man going through the stages of grief as they come to terms with their fate, and while it isn't as incisive as it wants to be, the album takes great pains to structure itself in a way that properly conveys every part of the tale. This does lead to an album that sounds closer to one long song rather than one containing distinct songs, however, and the jumps from aggressive and complex Black/Death to somber atmospherics aren't always elegant, leading to parts of this being rather disjointed. When the band does bring it all together, as on the massive "Viddus (The Veil)" and the pummeling "The River of Rain", they produce a powerful and kinetic sound that manages to sound familiar yet distinct.

Everything from the promo blurbs banging on about the band evolving to the silly album cover made me skeptical of this release, but after a few listens I was a convert to their sound. It doesn't always succeed in its ambitions, and I have no idea how fans of their older material will approach this, but fans of more epic and melodic Black/Death will want to give The Veil a listen.

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