Ancestors – In Dreams and Time

By Gruesome Greg

Truth be told, I wasn’t much of a fan of this band’s last effort. Boasting four tracks that ran past the 13-minute mark, Of Sound Mind was a tad too proggy for my tastes. However, it appears they’ve trimmed the fat with In Dreams and Time—shaving a whole five minutes from its predecessor’s 71-minute run time. Epic 19-minute album closer aside, most of these songs end just shy of the 10-minute mark. But does that make them any less pretentious? I would have to say so.

Opening track “Whispers” opens things on a heavy note, albeit with some eerie keyboards adding atmosphere. This tune blends bits of Baroness with shades of NeurIsis-style post sludge—not a bad way to kick things off. Second song “The Last Return” is the shortest number—at a shade over six minutes—and it’s a bit of a strange one. It begins with piano and female vocals, before some shoegaze-style riffs come up from underneath, die down, then come back again. Meh, this one is skippable…

At 12+ minutes, “Corryvreckan” starts in much the same mopey shoegaze/post-sludge fashion, albeit with slightly better riffage. This song especially reminds me of Neurosis, circa Through Silver in Blood—if the latter ever employed an organist.

The piano returns for “On the Wind,” this time accompanied by an eerie guitar riff. The song gradually builds to a furious crescendo, classical and metal instruments clashing in a mashup that’s equal parts Pink Floyd and Blue Aside. I’m digging the extended instrumental passage that brings this one through to its conclusion. With “Running in Circles,” it’s classical guitar, not piano, that kicks things off, this one shuffling around in more melodic territory until an aggressive vocal kicks things up a notch, simmering this thing into one heavy vegetable.

And that brings us to “First Light,” the 19-minute number that brings this record to an end. Aside from its length, and the occasional use of that same effect that opened “Fox on the Run” by The Sweet, it doesn’t really stand out from the rest—nor does it really need to be 19 minutes long, but I digress.

While their debut album was all over the place—in a bad way—Ancestors have a delivered a much more focused effort this time around that’s worthy of a few spins. Recommended for fans of Neurosis, Isis and the like; just don’t expect to hear much that those bands haven’t done before (aside from Track 2).

(Tee Pee Records)

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.