Natalie Zina Walschots
While crushing stoner metal is the easiest way to describe the vast, fuzzed-out sound of Vancouver-based Anciients, to limit them to this description is a disservice. Beneath the fat, distorted guitar tone and acrid smokiness is a deep vulnerability. There are moments of wonder, of tentative exploration on their debut, Heart of Oak, that speaks to a precocious musical and emotional intelligence.
“Raise The Sun” is an excellent example of everything that makes Heart of Oak an extraordinary debut. The sludge-heavy, powerful riffing comes to the fore, but it is cut by the clarity of the soaring vocals, transforming the contrasting heaviness into a throbbing ache. For all the weight they are capable of conjuring, Anciients are also skilled at wandering off into intricate, light progressive passage with surprising deftness, which they showcase repeatedly on this nonetheless lean and compact album opener.