Ancestors – Invisible White

August 2nd, 2011
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A Change Of Pace

Back in the 1980s, bands like Twisted Sister and Cinderella became so masculine, they actually came out the other side dressed like women. Today, bands like Mastodon and Between The Buried And Me have been pushing the boundaries of “heavy” by not being heavy at all, aiming instead for haunting melodies and clean vocals. Not ones to rest on their laurels, psychedelic doom outfit Ancestors also throw us a curveball with Invisible White, their newest EP. While not unexpected, it’s certain to make some fans reevaluate the band.

Most metal records prefer to slap you across the face with the opening track. Invisible White opts to creep in with acoustic guitars, piano, sparse percussion and airy vocals on the title track. In fact, the lead vocals don’t enter until a good 3 minutes in after a lengthy violin solo. It’s a far cry from the organ-laced stoner rock of the band’s past, yet it feels completely natural. Following close behind is “Dust,” which would not feel out of place on a Pink Floyd record as the simple harmonies and minimal instrumentation draw you deep inside. The closer, aptly named “Epilogue,” is more of a return to form, and the band’s unique blend of epic classic rock and swirling stoner metal, anchored by the rich organ sounds of Jason Watkins.

The production here is much improved over Ancestors’ last full-length Of Sound Mind. Instead of trying to capture the muddy recordings of the past, the band has opted to embrace modern audio, and it is a wise choice. Ancestors’ dense and textural brand of rock is best appreciated when one can hear everything the band intended, and that’s certainly the case here.

It’s always refreshing to hear a band take a huge risk with its style, and even more so when the risk pays off. Ancestors may alienate a few old fans with their new direction, but the rewards should be tenfold. If you’re already a fan of the band, approach this one with an open mind. Everyone else should not miss this expansion of the definition of “metal.”

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By Josh Neale Posted in Reviews

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