Volume 93, Issue 48

Wednesday, November 24, 1999


Bringing their northern touch

Sleepy Hollow confused as a headless chicken

Kinder too slow and depressing

Ancient unmasks too much horror

Ancient unmasks too much horror

The Halls of Eternity
Metal Blade

This CD is horrific in every sense of the word. From the use of Gothic garb and makeup to the lyrical reference to gods, demons and other mythological machinery, Ancient constantly attempts to create an image of horror.

Not even the album cover, lyrics or appearance, however, can compare to the guttural noises Ancient's frontman Aphazel spews forth.

Aphazel writes the majority of the music and lyrics on the album, and judging from his vocals, he should have stuck to the writing – one would be hard pressed to call the grunting, beastial sounds Aphazel makes singing.

The most bearable tracks on The Halls of Eternity are the first track, "Cast into the Unfathomed Deeps," and the last track "Arrival", which are both instrumentals. These efforts are decent, but still better suited to a horror film soundtrack.

While Aphazel's vocals are dreadful, this album can't even look to his music and words to save it. Not only do the lyrics follow a linear narrative, rather than a verse chorus structure most songs use, they also lack rhyme.

The weak lyrics are backed by bland guitars with a noticeable absence of quality hooks and riffs. There are small riffs or melodies which are repeated, but they are always interrupted by the horrid vocals and the repetitive use of chords. The best example of this is on the track "I, Madman" which opens with a cool electronic beat and then a decent guitar riff (and happens to be the only song not written by Aphazel), only to have the riff disappear and the vocals destroy the song.

The female back-up vocalist, Deadly Kristen, actually has a beautiful voice and is one of the only bright spots on this otherwise abysmal album. Unfortunately, Aphazel is pushed into the forefront and Kristen's voice is not heard enough.

Ancient often refers to demons and other horrors in their lyrics, but none of these can compare to the horror that is The Halls of Eternity.

–Anthony Thomas

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Copyright The Gazette 1999