Review: Ancient VVisdom ‘Master Of The Stone’

I remember the first time I ever heard Ancient VVisdom, over a decade ago now on their A Godlike Inferno record, and I remember reading somewhere that it was occult rock meets black metal atmospherics, only acoustic. It has been a description, and a band, that have stuck with me over the years, and their newest record Master Of The Stone is looking to be an amalgamation of the harder occult rock of Mundus, the acoustica of their early work, the heavier sounds of 2014’s Sacrificial and is out now through Argonauta Records.

Ancient Vvisdom 'Master Of The Stone' Artwork
Ancient Vvisdom ‘Master Of The Stone’ Artwork

The band’s evolution reminds me of Woods of Ypres’ movement from an overt black metal edge to a more morbid, almost gothic doom. It doesn’t seem like an obvious comparison at first, but the dynamic and charismatic voice of drummer Nathan Opposition really brings to mind David Gold’s dulcet depression-riddled voice.

Opener Sold My Soul To Satan is a fuzzy, charismatic stomp of occult rock that gives me a lot of The Devil’s Blood vibe, and while much of the band’s initial campfire neofolk has been dispersed, the band’s occult Satanism remains within a heavier, doomier framework. The infectious hooks have gone nowhere though and while the dark folk acoustic sections have been relegated to a mere two tracks (World’s Demise and The Devil’s Sermon), it is good to see that they haven’t gone entirely.

melancholic hook and gloomy swagger that most bands of this ilk would kill for…

Tracks like Demon Est Deus Inverses are examples of where this newer approach works really well, with a melancholic hook and gloomy swagger that most bands of this ilk would kill for. Recorded with Noah Buchanan of Nunslaughter, who also laid down some vocals and guitarwork on the record, the album sounds crisp and clean, giving the full Satanic poetry a full rich voice.

Master Of The Stone is a good record, full of hook ridden gloom, and Ancient VVisdom‘s journey to this place has left them with probably their most complete album overall; a fine encapsulation of their evolution. I do however feel that leaving that initial USP behind with the acoustic led neofolk/occult rock and becoming a little more of a ‘normal’ stoner doom band with Satanic themes leaves them in a less unique place.

Don’t get me wrong, Ancient VVisdom do what they do now better than a big swathe of bands who have been doing it longer, but they are now more part of a pack than out on their own. For me, that just isn’t quite as interesting as it used to be.

Label: Argonauta Records
Band Links: Facebook | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Sandy Williamson