By Andrew Bansal
Based out of Austin, Texas, Ancient VVisdom is an occult rock trio that was formed in 2009 when former Integrity members Nathan Opposition and his brother Michael Jochum joined Iron Age bassist Justin “Ribs” Mason. They released a split 12″ with Charles Manson titled “Inner Earth Inferno” in 2010, and followed it up with their full-length debut “A Godlike Inferno” in June 2011. This year, they signed with Prosthetic Records, and the label reissued the album. I first heard of Ancient VVisdom only when I saw the announcement for Ghost’s North American tour, with Ancient VVisdom as the opening act. Quite a few months after that, I finally got a chance to listen to the album. I must admit, because of my preconceived notion about ‘occult rock’ and perhaps also because of their tour with the likes of Ghost and Blood Ceremony, I went in with a certain expectation of what this band would sound like, but honestly, I was pleasantly surprised upon discovering that the music has more to it than what I had imagined.
The music is characterized by acoustic guitars in the forefront combined with electric guitars in certain passages, and Nathan Opposition’s vocals as the driving force that takes each song forward. There are no bass and drums as you would expect in the conventional rock/metal sense, but some amounts of percussion, bass and synths have been used, giving it a true folk music-type of feel, and overall the music on this album creates a powerful, haunting atmosphere which the listener strongly feels as soon as it begins with the track “Alter Reality”, and the feeling never really fades away until the album stops, 33 minutes later.
The songs follow a similar pattern, starting out with a acoustic guitar-dominated piece, then the vocals kick in, and the rest of the song is built around the acoustic guitar segments. But despite that, the musical pattern of the acoustic guitar intro pieces lays the foundation and determine how the song pans out, thus resulting in eight tracks that belong to the same album yet are quite different from each other. “The Opposition” is definitely my favorite track, which might sound cliche´ because it’s the ‘featured’ tune from this record, but it really does represent the album very well, and instantly catches on and resonates through the listener’s head, for a long time even after the song is done. The rest of the album has plenty of memorable tunes too, specially “Alter Reality”, “Necessary Evil” and “Lost Civilization” along with “Devil Brain”, which is probably the darkest and heaviest tune on the album.
Overall, this album comes across as a breath of fresh air in an era where occult rock has become a gimmick, judging from the number of bands playing the style that have suddenly come into prominence. But, based on this album I can safely say Ancient VVisdom’s music is above and beyond the trend. Its organic nature leaves no doubt that these musicians have put in a heartfelt effort into composing these tunes, and it has come from within. The music is very song-driven, and never gets random or aimlessly spacey. This band carries the occult theme merely in their song title and lyrics, and aside from that it’s all about the music. When it’s put to good use, there is nothing better than the pure, pristine sound of an acoustic guitar, and this album proves just that.
Another thing Ancient VVisdom have got going in their favor is, the music on here crosses over excellently well towards the type of audience that might not appreciate your typical heavy metal band. This might well be one of the very few albums ever featured on this website that not only appeal to a large section of the metal listeners, but to the non-metal folk as well. I was certainly late in giving this album a listen, and realized what I’d been missing out on. So if you haven’t yet heard it, I suggest you do so as soon as possible. Ancient VVisdom’s “A Godlike Inferno” is a must-listen.
Related: Interview with Nathan Opposition
Record Label: Prosthetic
Release Date: April 10th 2012
1. Alter Reality
2. The Opposition
3. Necessary Evil
4. Forever Tonight
5. Lost Civilization
6. Devil Brain
7. VVorld Of Flesh
8. Children Of The Wasteland