The Cainian Chronicle (Metal Blade)
by Chris Dick
Norwegian black metal finds its first major release on Metal Blade. I was impressed with the band’s first album, Svartalvheim, on France’s Listenable label, but The Canian Cronicle is truly above any standard set by Ancient, and maybe black metal. I imagine it’s the collaboration of these four individuals that brought about the new-found diversity on Ancient’s second album. Guitarist Aphazel has improved since his last studio endeavor, but vocalist Lord Kaiaphas (of the American outfit Grand Belials Key) holds the reigns. Lord Kaiaphas is the focal point in Ancient, with his interesting vocal ideas, lyrical presentation, and eminence – you should see this guy live. Female vocalist, a session member I presume, Kimberly Goss (originally in Chicago doom outfit Avernus) has decent range, offers diversity where needed, and provides a female presence in an otherwise male-dominated genre. My only qualm is that she isn’t used often enough. Percussionist Kjetil (who replaced the Norwegian Grimm) actually may be the best musician in Ancient though, as he gives the guitars and bass a much needed foundation and accent. The production (courtesy of Sweden’s Unisound studios) is far above above average, breathing new life to the tempo changes, most notably the faster ones. In the end, The Canian Cronicle is a great album that proves Ancient are bound for grand things.