REVIEW: Ancient VVisdom - Deathlike

Genre: Doom/Acoustic Rock
Label: Prosthetic
Date of Release: February 5, 2013


Fusing peaceful and acoustic rock with the depressive nature of doom metal is alone a very intriguing act, and that’s where Texan group Ancient VVisdom makes their mark. Established in 2009 from Austin, this band made their debut in 2011 with “A Godlike Inferno.” They also signed to Prosthetic Records, a label known for striking deals with bands such as Trap Them and Hour Of Penance. Later, in 2013, they would release their second full-length record “Deathlike.” Bearing twelve tracks, this album proves to be a soothing yet sorrowful album that is well worth the listen.

To begin, the musicianship is overall well-performed. The singing is calm yet resonant in tone, and is especially great when played out as a choir. When it hits the higher pitches, it does sound slightly forced, but it doesn’t actually distract from the music’s enjoyment factor. The other highlight of “Deathlike’s” instrumentation is the guitar work, which plays acoustic riffs throughout the majority of the album. They also perform a few distorted riffs in the music’s background, adding a more layered atmosphere to the slow track. While there is no drumming, there are some segments of marching percussion, especially in tracks such as “I Am Rebirth,” “Never Live Again,” and “Here Is the Grave.” This adds more to that atmospherically dark feel of the music, and it ultimately works in the album’s favor.

On top of all this, the sound production is also a positive note of “Deathlike,” because it further generates an echoing ambience for the audience to become invested in as they listen to the music. All in all, it’s a great touch for the album, making the tracks more chilling yet soothing simultaneously. As a result, this album manages to appeal to both the instrumentation and the mixing quite well.

“Deathlike” is constructed entirely of a cross between doom and acoustic rock. As stated earlier, this musical formula is quite interesting, and it can lend itself to making enjoyable dark music. For the most part, Ancient VVisdom succeeds, as they take advantage of the atmosphere brought on by the musicianship and the production to captivate listeners. In addition, the songs are overall well composed. They are made to be bleak yet chilled, so it’s great as a haunting and relaxing soundtrack, giving “Deathlike” a healthy sense of diversity. This record has that certain distinction from many other doom-laden scores that it can invoke horror and peace at the same time.

The only major problem with this album is that there are a few songs that, while pleasurable, feel as if they do not have any payoff. For an example, the song “The Last Man on Earth” has great buildup with a bluesy tone compared to the other tracks, but never has too much of  a satisfying conclusion. Because of this, these types of songs sort of leave the audience feeling empty-handed. However, as bothersome as that flaw can get, it doesn’t prevent this record from being worth at least a try, considering how nicely the music is composed.

All in all, “Deathlike” is a very solid album. The musicianship, mixing, and compositions are all done well, in spite of any flaws they come across, which are very few and far between. It succeeds to touch on both the somber and soothing realms of any form of dark rock with flow and grace, making way for a well-written effort.  Although “Deathlike” isn’t for everyone, with its slow pace and thick atmosphere, music fans searching for acoustic and dark songs are recommended to this. Ancient VVisdom is one passively grim band to keep an eye on.

Score: 8/10 (Great)