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ANCIIENTS Return with New Album ‘BEYOND THE REACH OF THE SUN’

today2024-05-21 25

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Many moons ago, Anciients were crowned the guiding lights of progressive metal. The Canadians were already firing on all cylinders during a headlining tour of Europe when they won a JUNO Award for Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year in 2016.

Unfortunately, keeping their avalanche of momentum rocking and rolling proved to be no easy feat. For too long, Anciients seemed to lie dormant, hidden amongst the shadows. But now, after eight years of hermetic silence, the band have returned from the wilderness with a new lineup and their highly-anticipated third album, which now stands as their heaviest, headiest and most heartfelt offering.     

“The hiatus is over”, says Anciients’ frontman Kenny Cook. “We missed out on a huge block after the last record. But with the new album and new members, we’re ready to hit it hard”.

Beyond the Reach of the Sun comes out August 30, 2024 on Season of Mist. Pre-order down below.

For those foolish enough to forget, Beyond the Reach of the Sun will serve as a reminder that Anciients can still rule with an iron fist. The album tells the story of a society that’s enslaved by forces from another dimension. “Melt the Crown” is plenty punishing in its own right. Mike Hannay drums with the crushing speed of a meteor. Only now he’s backed by the titanic grooves of new bassist Rory O’Brien, who comes courtesy of fellow Canadian progressives Bushwhacker.         

“We lost our bass player literally a month before we were going in to record and were kind of up shit’s creek”, says Kenny Cook, Anciient’s vocalist and lead axe man. “We got lucky and Rory saved our asses at the last minute”. 

An unexpected lineup shuffle was far from the only obstacle that stood in Anciient’s path toward album number three. Of course, the global pandemic didn’t help, but Beyond the Reach of the Sun had turned into a Herculean climb well before COVID-19 kept the band from performing outside Canada for two-plus years. Cook’s wife nearly passed away from heart complications after giving birth to their first child.

“She’s happy and healthy now”, he assures, “but I wasn’t at the stage where I could be out on tour for half a year, especially with a new child. Dealing with family issues was the main priority. It was a bit of a road”. 

Such a serious amount of pressure would weigh on anyone. But Cook fell into deeper doubts when trying to carry the bulk of the songwriting and lyric duties in relative isolation after he and his family left Vancouver for small-town Columbia-Shuswap. You can hear those phantom pains bleeding into “Melt the Crown”. “Feel the weight of the world”,  Cook growls amidst sludgy distortion. But at its core, Beyond the Reach of the Sun is about perseverance. “Melt the Crown” marks the point in the tracklist where a cosmic entity guides society to a source of ancient knowledge that frees them from their oppressors.

“The overall theme of this record is about overcoming adversity in order to seek enlightenment”, Cook says.  

Beyond the Reach of the Sun also led Anciients to discover fresh springs of inspiration. The band concentrated on making these songs more dynamic while also allowing them more room to breath. “Melt the Crown” opens with plaintive acoustic fingerpicking. Justin Hagberg, who plays in Ritual Dictates as well as the recently reunited 3 Inches of Blood, soon accompanies with a keyboard melody that shines as crisp as light off a summer lake before shimmering into stardust. “Spirits awakening to cast you out”, Cook sings, clean and booming with reverb, like dawn rising above a snow-capped mountain range.  

One thing has always been crystal clear though: Anciients can shred. Fans who’ve waited on bended knee for more guitar heroics will not be disappointed, either. New member Brock MacInnes brings the same rhythmic crunch that he’s given to Dead Quiet. Just listen to the way his riffs on “Melt the Crown” chip and chisel before laying down the hammer with a headbanging chug. “Beyond the Reach of the Sun has a lot more of our rock side”, Cook says. “We tried to add more dynamics to the music and give the songs more room to breathe”. 

Of course, Cook knows his own way around the neck of a Gibson Les Paul. On “Melt the Crown”, Anciients fire up not one, not two, but three guitar solos. Each one comes with its own special flavor. They start off by leading us through a field of filigreed folk, then turn back toward Allman Brothers’ blues, before leaping into a psychedelic reverie that’s like opening the door to your mind’s eye.    

“‘Melt the Crown’ was the first song completed during the pre-production sessions for Beyond the Reach of the Sun“, Anciients says. “It was the only song we kept from a batch of ideas that we had accumulated over the years, and it served as a formative building block that we used to base the direction of the new material moving forward. It covers almost all of the basis of the sounds we enjoy creating. We hope everyone who listens can find something in there to connect with”.

At long last, Anciients have returned for their crown.

More Praise for Anciients

 

JUNO Award winners latest is a heavy, heady and heartfelt offering of progressive metal.

“Heady stuff…arch-synthesists, cleverly appropriating a number of familiar, inter-related genres to fuse into a seamless ethos” – Metal Injection

 

“It’s exciting stuff, really – often complicated without seeming excessive, skillful but soulful, approachable but not pedestrian” – Pitchfork

“Proggy, sludgy and downright rocking” – Angry Metal Guy

“When the riffs rumble out of the speakers, you’re moving” – No Clean Singing

“Combining powerful drumming with Thin Lizzy inspired riffs, while sounding like the musical equivalent of Game of Thrones” – Echoes and Dust      

“Parts progressive finesse, classic rock grandstanding and grass-roots bludgeon” – PopMatters 

 

BUY>>> ANCIIENTS “Beyond the Reach of the Sun” – CD

BUY>>> ANCIIENTS – “Beyond the Reach of the Sun” – Vinyl

 
ANCIIENTS “Melt The Crown” 
 

 
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