ANCIENT - "PROXIMA CENTAURI" (METAL BLADE)
I have to say I was a bit prejudiced against this band before listening to the CD. I'd seen them in concert a couple of years ago and, well, they impressed me not a bit. I just thought they made a lot of noise, took themselves too seriously, and weren't a good bunch of musicians.
As tends to happen sometimes, I was pleasantly surprised when hearing "Proxima Centauri". For starters the album sounds good, which is a whole lot more than I could say of that concert. Second, they have in their ranks a pretty good drummer, GroM. He was either not in the band when I saw them, or he was having a bad day. Good drummers are vital in intense or otherwise extreme metal such as that which is produced by Ancient.
"Proxima Centauri" features a wealth of black metal enjoyment. Tracks like "The Ancient Horadrim" and "The Witch" manage to impress, after which "On Blackest Wings" and "Incarnating the Malignant Deity" impressed me even more. In fact, there is only one cut I'd classify as 'superfluous' in the same sense as Cradle of Filth's "Satanic Mantra" on "Midian", and that's the weird "Audrina, My Sweet". Thankfully it lasts less than 3 minutes.
Deadly Kristin lends an extra dimension with her female vocals, which altogether make "Proxima Centauri" a pretty damn fine black metal album.
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Written September 2001
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