2011’s The Godlike Inferno took the Metal world by storm with its dark ‘n’ pretty, acoustic-driven hymns to Lucifer. The list of artists able to make an acoustic guitar sound “heavy” is a short one. However, Ancient Vvisdom won’t have the luxury of surprise with follow-up Deathlike. We, bloodthirsty hounds at their door, know what to expect now, and have been eagerly craving more of it. The safest, smartest choice in this situation is probably to duplicate, and that’s more or less what AVV has done here. It’s really quite unfair to expect re-reinvention of the wheel from a band who’ve already carved themselves a quick niche with their relatively unconventional approach, comparisons to acoustic Alice in Chains EPs aside. When you strip everything down to this level —acoustic guitar, minimal electric guitar, minimal percussion— it’s basically the same terms as Folk/Rock from the ’60s: if you have a good singer, you have a hit. And these guys have one hell of a great singer in Nathan Opposition. I don’t often use the word “dreamy” to describe vocals within the Metal Curse forum, but I’ll be damned if that doesn’t sum it up perfectly. Of course it helps that this eargasm-inducing croon is consistently a vehicle for odes to the Dark Lord and the end of humanity. In all honesty, this man could probably make a decent living off his voice if ever he decided to seek an Alternative route. Satanic Chill Wave, perhaps? Something to think about. Seriously though, I’d prefer he stay put. Other than the album’s off-putting intro-song-intro beginning and the Blues cheese of “The Last Man on Earth,” Deathlike is a smooth, flawless ride. Spine-shivering choruses grace “Let the End Begin,” the title track, and “I Am Rebirth,” while brooding apocalyptic ditties like “Look Alive,” “Never Live Again,” and “Here Is the Grave” bring the darkness. Consider dawn officially cast upon the grave of the angel. Where is that pale bitch now? A little light and shade go a long way on this campfire and brimstone affair. A first-listen record from a first-listen band. Tough to beat instant gratification these days, isn’t it? If given a fair shot, Ancient Vvisdom’s irresistible charm should easily seduce even the most distortion-addicted among us. Tear down the walls of your ego.
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