A Godlike Inferno – (Prosthetic)
ANCIENT VVISDOM, pronounced ‘Wisdom’, unless you’re German. This here be the semi-acoustic project of Jake and Nate from INTEGRITY, along with Justin from a band named IRON AGE, which I haven’t heard yet. With this supergroup-esque gathering of guys from some well-respected Crossover Thrash/Hardcore bands, you’d be forgiven for assuming this project would be a brainchild that shared at least some trace of DNA. What we have here is, in the parlance of our times, a curve-ball from hell in the form low-key paeans to the “Dark One” ideal for a drinking circle with wild woodsmen around a fire rather than a circle of moshers.
As I mentioned earlier, with members hailing from Metallic Hardcore bands, one would be fooled into thinking this is one of those “calm before the storm” tracks. After all, this album is called “A Godlike Infucken’ferno“, so it’s gonna be a firey hellstorm of blazing riffs, machine gun double bass, and larynx punishing shouts, correct?
Instead you’re treated with some softly sung, yet eerie vocals over a steady mid-tempo guitar riff. To use a clichéd word, haunting lyrics take the stage, and soon after comes an electric guitar playing a riff that you’d probably hear on the radio had it not been accompanied by lyrics that are definitely a bit too Pagan for your local Rock Block. Some odd metallic clanking chimes in with the electric guitar almost like pickaxes hitting iron or a sword being forged, along with a sort of marching drum cadence to seal the deal as far as the militaristic vibe goes.
Continuing along in the wooden direction, we have our second in a line of 8 songs about challenging God to a rock’n’roll showdown and being damn proud of being a sinner. This one’s a tad bit heavier than the last, with a bit more of a stomp’n’clap set-up. Where the last was a march to a battlefield, this is a rallying cry to Lucifer, unabashedly Satanic with lyrics like “Hail to thee, God of the Underworld/I sing praises to thee, and I suffer no more.” Not exactly grade-A poetry, but it gets the message across. Boasting a larger hook than “Alter”, this comes across as a hit single gone to the dark side.
A bit more of a dusty, sun-burnt country vibe opens this track, with a little bit of tambourine giving an out-of-place celebratory feel. The atmosphere just screams abandoned old-Western town, and I dig how well they managed to capture both the spooky and accessible, making combining them look easy. If BIGELF didn’t employ weird accents and made morose country, this is probably how it would come out. Completely eschewing the electric guitar this time, it maintains an organic body throughout, allowing the rumble of bass drums to resonate all the more clearly.
What could this track possibly sound like? Folksy acoustic guitar driven Blues rock with lyrics about Satan and the occult? Perhaps, but let’s not jump to conclusions, and move on to uncovering Atlantean ruins.
This song makes no bones about opening up with a rockin’ riff and a plodding drum beat. My one complaint about this otherwise very catchy and well-done track is that the lyrics are so base that you’d be better off ignoring them. If you can get past that, then you may enjoy your reward of the first guitar solo on the album, which comes as a pleasant surprise after the release was starting to drag into the Doldrums of monotony and tunnel visions of Satan. Too bad it’s the track that’s written in such a way you want to sing along. Even though it’s half a minute shorter than “The Opposition”, which is the longest track, it feels like it drags on for a couple too many.
Oh Satan, how I missed you for five minutes. This song continues the hard rockin’ formula of the last one, and with even cheesier lyrics, and a cheddar-drenched title. I really hope they didn’t just run out of ideas for good songs near the end of the album writing process, because that would be a huge disappointment. The chorus riff reminds me a little of the main riff from GEORGE THOROGOOD’s “Bad To The Bone”, so I get some odd imagery of Satanic biker gangs.
“VVorld Of Flesh”
Another guitar solo, though nowhere near as bombastic as that on “Lost Civilization”, opens up under some chilly acoustic noodling. The vocals on the chorus kind of hearken to another Doomy rock’n’roll band, GHOST, with the same chilling effect. ANCIENT VVISDOM’s strength is in the slow and brooding songs, though there is some heavy riffing and pounding drums, but it’s never allowed to rev up too high for its own good. Around the 3 minute mark the song speeds up a bit, and manages to not topple over itself. Another searing solo, this time piercing the heavens! Starts strong, ends strong, is strong, like Mother RRRussia.
“Children Of The Wasteland”
With a completely mellow closer, a real ‘one sad man and his guitar’ feel takes over for the conclusion. If COREY TAYLOR were a better musician, this is the song he could’ve written for SLIPKNOT’s Vol. 3 album instead of the excessively wimpy “Vermilion Pt. 2″.
THE VERDICT: A strong release with a lot of potential, with room for improvement, mainly in the lyrical department.
The VVisdom is all in the facial hair.