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Ancient was originally a solo- project of guitarist and composer Aphazel, started in Norway in the year of 1992. Aphazel quickly developed his project of atmospheric and dark Black Metal into a full band with Grimm as vocalist/ drummer. The two released the "Eerily Howling Winds" demo and the "Det Glemte Riket" 7" in the years 1993 and 1994, and the band quickly established a strong following in the underground Black Metal scene worldwide, and, among others, Listenable Records/ Osmose noticed the potential of this band and released the debut album of Ancient namely "Svartalvheim". This album was bound to be one of the most sold and appreciated of this musical genre and is today considered a Black Metal classic. The mini album "Trolltaar" followed a year later and ended up being the last release with Grimm, who went into other directions musically.

Aphazel moved to USA and
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ANCIENT Discography

ANCIENT albums / top albums

ANCIENT Svartalvheim album cover 3.82 | 8 ratings
Melodic Black Metal 1994
ANCIENT The Cainian Chronicle album cover 3.46 | 8 ratings
The Cainian Chronicle
Melodic Black Metal 1996
ANCIENT Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends album cover 2.21 | 3 ratings
Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends
Symphonic Black Metal 1997
ANCIENT The Halls of Eternity album cover 3.25 | 4 ratings
The Halls of Eternity
Melodic Black Metal 1999
ANCIENT Proxima Centauri album cover 2.75 | 2 ratings
Proxima Centauri
Symphonic Black Metal 2001
ANCIENT Night Visit album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Night Visit
Melodic Black Metal 2004
ANCIENT Back to the Land of the Dead album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Back to the Land of the Dead
Melodic Black Metal 2016

ANCIENT EPs & splits

ANCIENT Det Glemte Riket album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Det Glemte Riket
Black Metal 1994
ANCIENT Trolltaar album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Black Metal 1995
ANCIENT True Kings of Norway album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
True Kings of Norway
Black Metal 2000
ANCIENT God Loves the Dead album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
God Loves the Dead
Melodic Black Metal 2001

ANCIENT live albums

ANCIENT demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

ANCIENT Eerily Howling Winds album cover 1.25 | 2 ratings
Eerily Howling Winds
Black Metal 1993

ANCIENT re-issues & compilations

ANCIENT Det glemte riket album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Det glemte riket
Black Metal 1998
ANCIENT Eerily Howling Winds - The Antediluvian Tapes album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Eerily Howling Winds - The Antediluvian Tapes
Black Metal 2005

ANCIENT singles (0)

ANCIENT movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)


ANCIENT Svartalvheim

Album · 1994 · Melodic Black Metal
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Before Ancient outed themselves as a gang of shameless Vampire: the Masquerade LARPers on The Cainian Chronicle, they put out this beast of an album, which is rather more aggressive and direct than its successor whilst still having melodic sensibilities. Part of the difference in sound comes down to the shift in the lineup; whilst Aphazel had a full band collaborating with him on subsequent releases, here it's just him on guitar, bass and keyboards and Grimm on vocals and drums. Grimm would depart from the group before The Cainian Chronicle sessions, and I suspect his hand here was responsible for the more frenetic direction of the music; certainly, his lyrics focus on more traditional black metal themes of Satan, wolves, forests and winter, with a pinch of Cthulhu to spice things up.

ANCIENT The Cainian Chronicle

Album · 1996 · Melodic Black Metal
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Black metal always walks a tightrope between being genuinely scary and just being a bit dorky, and Ancient certainly cross the line into dorky territory. But you can make dorkiness work for you if you embrace it in an endearing fashion - say, by making a concept album based on your favourite tabletop RPG, which is precisely what Ancient did here, basing most of the songs on the album off aspects of the mythology of Vampire: the Masquerade. (They aren't the only metal band to riff off the World of Darkness games either - Werewolf: the Apocalypse inspired Slipknot's early work.)

The band make this an endearing homage rather than a clumsy disaster by avoiding any pretense of being kvlt, embracing a melodic black metal sound which was innovative at the time and is still rather enjoyable now - like Cradle of Filth with less classical pretensions and more LARPing.

ANCIENT Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends

Album · 1997 · Symphonic Black Metal
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With two solid black metal albums already under their belts, Norwegian act Ancient decided to take a bit more of a risk with Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends. Although the band was still rooted in their country's black metal scene, this third album sees them taking more than a few hints from gothic extreme metal acts like Cradle of Filth. As if the cover art doesn't say it all, the music here has a lot more to do with vampires and blood-drinking than your average Norwegian black metal record; although it makes for an interesting enough idea on paper, Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends is an exceptionally weak experiment from a band who exhibited tons of potential on their previous two albums. Rather than effectively conveying the dark and ominous atmospheres that Cradle of Filth are capable of, Ancient's attempt at this sound comes across as a cheap and hokey imitation rather than a valid artistic entry. Although I don't quite think Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends is the utter piece of trash that many metalheads make it out to be, it's still an entirely non-essential listen for virtually every demographic.

Ancient's previous album, The Cainian Chronicle, showed the band improving greatly upon the black metal side of their sound - while I wouldn't venture to call this a flawless album, it showed that with a bit of work, they did have a lot of potential to create a truly amazing black metal observation. Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends takes quite a few steps back from these improvements, and the black metal sections are instead supplemented by laughably cheesy gothic overtones that simply destroy any chance of creating a convincingly dark atmosphere. Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends lacks the innovative attitude of Svartalvheim and the impressive songwriting of The Cainian Chronicle - all that's left is a rather dull effort that offers very little in the way of enjoyment. Though the Cradle of Filth influence could've potentially been a good thing (after all, I am a proud fan of Dani Filth & co.), the poor production and soulless songwriting cripple any positive aspects of the release. Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends simply doesn't convey any of the bone-chilling atmospheres that I can expect when listening to a Cradle of Filth album, and the end result sounds more like an amateurish imitation than a recommendable listening experience.

I've been quite disappointed by Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends, especially considering the strength of Ancient's previous two albums. When it comes to gothic-tinged black metal, atmospheres and authenticity are key - effectively transporting the listener to a bleak, dystopian world is essential, and making it seem entirely genuine is every bit as important. Neither of these things are successfully fulfilled on Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends, and the result is an album that sounds goofy and amateurish rather than frighteningly dark and convincingly powerful. Though I've yet to acquaint myself with later Ancient albums, I hope this was more of a one-album fluke than a trend for their future releases; in complete honesty, this is not a good album in any sense of the word. 2 stars are the most I can give here.

ANCIENT The Cainian Chronicle

Album · 1996 · Melodic Black Metal
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After thoroughly enjoying their debut album, my next venture into the world of Ancient was with 1996's The Cainian Chronicle. Though the band's sound has largely remained unchanged since 1994's Svartalvheim (a big change in direction wouldn't occur until next year's Mad Grandoise Bloodfiends), this Norwegian melodic black metal group did show an increased level in maturity this time around. The Cainian Chronicle shows a possibly less experimental band than what was heard on Svartalvheim, but it's clear that they have also increased their ability to write memorable black metal compositions. My biggest knock with Svartalvheim was that, despite my immense enjoyment for the band's folkier side, their ability to write powerful black metal music wasn't yet quite up to par - that's fortunately been fixed with The Cainian Chronicle, and while the end result does sound a bit more run-of-the-mill than its predecessor, I think the album as a whole is just a tad stronger.

Before one goes into The Cainian Chronicle expecting an average and unoriginal black metal record, that isn't the case - though the focus seems to be in the direction of creating more memorable and less experimental black metal, Ancient still allows plenty of extraneous oddities to pervade their core sound. In addition to a few extended and mildly progressive epics, you've also got the occasional use of clean vocals (both male and female), as well as a beautiful interlude in the form of "Cry of Mariamne". The tribal drumming and strange orgasmic noises in "Exu" make for a pretty lame attempt at creating a dark atmosphere, but it is thankfully followed up by two amazing black metal epics. "The Pagan Cycle" and especially "Homage to Pan" are both excellent black metal songs, and together they stand out along with the four-part title track as highlights of the album.

At over 66 minutes, The Cainian Chronicle is a pretty long album, and not all of the songs are quite up to the standard set by the best that Ancient has to offer - that's not to say that the rest of this observation is bad, but it generally comes across as pretty average in the end. Thankfully, a few standout tracks still make The Cainian Chronicle a worthwhile sophomore effort from Ancient, and while I wouldn't venture to call it flawless, it's a recommended listen for black metal fans. The Cainian Chronicle is a less original album than Svartalvheim, but at the same time it is a more mature and professional work. Although I slightly prefer The Cainian Chronicle, I'll rate it with the same 3.5 stars I handed out to their debut.

ANCIENT Svartalvheim

Album · 1994 · Melodic Black Metal
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1994 was an amazing year for black metal, with seminal classics from acts like Emperor, Burzum, Mayhem, and Darkthrone - to name but a few - making a major impact on the genre for years to come. With so many big releases coming from Norway during this year, naturally a few gems have been forgotten with the sands of time. Svartalvheim, the debut album from melodic black metal outfit Ancient, is one release that has become a bit overlooked by black metal fans over the years - whether or not that's intentional is something I'm not sure of. A lot of black metal fans like to poke fun at the cheesy and gimmicky gothic style on the later releases from Ancient, so they may have dismissed this debut as something of that nature - a big mistake on their part. Though the band later moved away from anything resembling old school black metal, the primitive spirit of the genre is embraced (minus a few twists) throughout the majority of Svartalvheim. An original and captivating debut indeed, Ancient definitely got off on the right foot with this solid effort.

The music you'll find on Svartalvheim clearly has a strong influence from acts like Burzum, Darkthrone, and Mayhem, with its fast tremolo guitar picking and blast beats immediately instilling in the listener that this is not an easy listening experience. Though I wouldn't venture to say that Svartalvheim is terribly unique, it does have an identity of its own - not necessarily in its black metal portions, which are (admittedly) fairly standard, but more in its ability to incorporate folky acoustics, atmospheric keyboards, and even church organ into the mix. The heavier portions are still interesting enough, but they fail at creating the cold atmosphere that I long to hear in a black metal record. It's really the non-metallic sections that grab my attention most. Though I wouldn't call Svartalvheim a particularly progressive album, the band does hint in that direction quite often. "Paa Evig Vandrig" especially shows the band at their most progressive and experimental. This nine-minute long track sports an extremely epic, almost viking-like atmosphere that's aided by lovely acoustic guitars, keyboards (even an extended church organ section!), and creepy whispered vocals. An absolutely splendid track, for sure. You'll find plenty of other goodies throughout Svartalvheim, especially towards the second half, but it's always this one that leaves me with goosebumps.

While a good amount of the album is fairly average and the production is a bit dry at times, there are more than enough jaw-dropping moments throughout Svartalvheim to justify a purchase for anyone interested in black metal. This duo entered the scene with a great debut, and while I'm not yet well-versed in the rest of Ancient's discography, this album has certainly piqued my interest. I'd say 3.5 stars are well-deserved for this impressive, but not flawless, debut offering.

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