The Bottom Line
- Intelligently written.
- At times shattering from its pinpointed boom and vigilant tapestry of psychedelics.
- Released October 6, 2009 on Tee Pee Records.
- Recorded, mixed and mastered by Pete Lyman.
- Features guest appearances by The Melvins’ David Scott Stone, Sera Timms of Black Math Horsemen and cellist Ramiro Zapata.
Guide Review - Ancestors - 'Of Sound Mind'
Not every ambitious and artistic metal or rock album out there takes the time to slide a brief nocturne like Gershwin in a rough mood as Ancestors does between its lengthy drone compositions. The passive yet nervous “Not the Last Return” effectively destabilizes the titanic arrangement of the 14-minute “Mother Animal,” thence relinquishes to the Pink Floyd-greased “Bounty of Age.” “Challenging” does likewise later in the album, only with a cabaret of the doomed feel.
In only the first four minutes, “Bounty of Age” achieves a cerebral hookup with its audience before pouring on bars of heavier agitation. Each successive minute drips with massive guitar wails and densely-punctuated organ fills. Ancestors sculpt like Isis and Neurosis, yet they are affixed to less translucence of the former and more cumbersomeness of the latter. “Bounty of Age” emits winding thunder in the later portions of the composition, bellowing with enraged prog of such dense proportions even the Mastodon guys would appreciate it.
Of Sound Mind coaxes a serene Radiohead-esque synth and organ instrumental “A Friend” which leaks into the 17:35 soul-scraping odyssey of “The Trial.” Laced with Floyd, Crimson and Hawkwind as Ancestors are well-known to homage within their arresting conceptions, “The Trial” swoons in such distorted ostinato you can hear the targeted amplitude with each snarling riff yank. Hang about for a Kyuss-induced stamping session around the 11-minute mark which gets browned agreeably in Ancestors’ great space toaster.
While Neptune With Fire was practically an experiment in meshing Ancestors’ domineering tonal crushes over the span of two extensive audile journeys, Of Sound Mind is a bit more focused even with its monster jam tendencies and randomly slowed hypnosis. “The Ambrose Law” will call the hairball nation into rank with a Sabbath-Purple-Heep spree in the opening moments of the 13-minute track. In less than two minutes, “The Ambrose Law” shoots a climax of pounding rawk, yet there’s far more to go as Ancestors shifts moods in a mind-numbing drench of low-end chords, ear-tickling keys and supplemental flutes and strings to lend the song far-flung elegance.
Of Sound Mind will find its way into the ear canals of many listeners, particularly those looking for reanimated classic power rock and prog done with legitimate heart. Ancestors are gutsy for merging the trippy with the dank; in the end, Of Sound Mind will engage its audience like few others of its ilk.