Album Year: 2012
Location: Nashville, TN
Genre: Groove / Death Metal
The Lyra Particle EP is an amazing release. I believe it’s right up there with Mychildren Mybrides’ self-titled album and Between The Buried and Me’s The Parallax II: Future Sequence for metal release of the year. From the technical guitar riffs, to the insanely rhythmic drumming, each element of music is carefully placed to create a lasting impression on the listener.
When I first listened to this album, the first thing that came to mind was that these guys are a new age Meshuggah, and I fully stand by this statement. A lot of bands have been accused of stealing the Meshuggah sound, aka the newfound craze of “djent” tuned breakdowns and riffs (coined by Fredrik Thordendal himself, guitarist of Meshuggah). What makes Ancients so special is that not only do they adopt this sound and make it their own (offering consistently technical breakdowns and riffs), they put a Born of Osiris flare and ferocity into each note played.
First off, I must say that the band members recorded this album themselves. The production value is outstanding, and I really appreciate the incredible amount of work that the band put into it. My attention was immediately given to the album’s diverse mix of extraordinary muted rhythm riffs and chords, layered on top of sinister lead sweeps and solos. The guitar work is outstanding, constantly being filled out with maniacal synth and unique and impressive drum fills. Each instrument has its own voice on this album.
Another thing about this band that caught my attention as soon as I heard it is their flawless use of the blast beat in their tracks. The use of this element of metal music is common among most bands in the genre, but what most bands don’t have in their blast beats are barking highs that blow the listener away. I would compare Ancient’s use of the blast beat similar to that of deathcore favorite Oceano, where they attack the instruments, but the beat is not carried by the instrumental. Instead, the intense high that the vocalist is able to reach is what “packs the punch.”
If you’re a fan of Ancient’s 2011 release Opposite Elite, the most noticeable differences are how much better the rhythm guitar is on The Lyra Particle EP, and the overall heightened production value of the new EP. The rhythm work on Lyra sounds heavier, carries more weight (lifting burden off the drums), and complements the extremely impressive lead guitar work. The breakdown patterns are much more clean and technical on Lyra as well. Their interesting uses of synth and guitar effects to fill out the breakdowns and verses are what put the album on an entirely different plane. It’s just an entirely more masterful album than the last.
The Lyra Particle EP has really made me a happy metal fan this past month. 2012 is an incredible year for metal, and this release just does the year even more justice. Each song is a masterpiece in itself. Today, the band has released a statement via Facebook that they have begun writing for their new release on We Are Triumphant Records. It’d be wise to keep an eye on these guys. Unfortunately, they do not have any tour dates posted at the moment. I think they’re really going to explode soon; these guys are definite sleeper picks in the world of metal.
For fans of: Meshuggah, Born of Osiris, Volumes, Impending Doom, Veil of Maya & After The Burial
Here’s a video of my personal favorite track, “Alternate Means of Escape.” Look for the blast beats at :39 and :47, and breakdowns at 1:00 (spooky synth breakdown, my personal favorite), 2:36 and 3:18. Also, notice how the band doesn’t rely on these elements to carry the song instantly into a song you’ll have on replay for weeks.