Sullen Records, 2010
Ancient Plague is a dark ambient band out of the UK and Puerto Rico. Archaic Kingdoms is their debut record. If you have ever listened to ambient before, you probably have noticed if it isn’t done right, it can turn out rather boring and monotonous. I know first hand how difficult it is to take ambient and keep it interesting and varied throughout not just a whole album, but just a single song in fact. However, where other ambient projects have failed, this album succeeds.
The first song pulls you right in to a very well done female vocal part accompanied by what sounds like a tribal flute type instrument. It is a very intriguing track. What you’ll hear on the rest of the album is brilliantly done keys. Alexis has done an amazing job on this album. Gedelia’s black metal-like vocals mixed with the clean vocals from Sakara over the keys of Alexis just add a perfect touch to the atmosphere. The drumming is also very well done.
The lyrics for the most part deal with a Christian walk at a very personal level. Some other lyrics though don’t really deal with Christianity at all. There are lyrics that deal with topics such as the Bubonic Plague and ancient cultures. If you are looking for an album that contains nothing but in your face Christian lyrics, then this album is not for you. However, if this doesn’t bother you, then you will admire the poetic and intelligent nature of the lyrics.
Overall, this is one of the most well put together ambient albums I’ve heard in a long time. The music is dark but yet beautiful at the same time. If you like ambient at all or even just well done piano music, you should give this release a try. I’m excited to see where this project is headed. The band has added a new guitarist and they are talking about going into a more symphonic black metal direction. So let’s see where the future holds.
by Matt Marciniec