ARDE (DEU) – Ancestral Cult, 2021 🇬🇧
Straight out of Berlin comes the last release by a band that integrates musicians from Spain, Poland, Italy, and Belgium. With that kind of variety of backgrounds on their shoulders, ARDE brings their second long play with which they keep carefully cultivating their particular approach to atmospheric black metal. Like many of the bands that develop this line of black metal, nature and its power are the common nexus for their themes and lyrics. A kind of music that brings to mind the famous canvases of romantic painters like David Caspar Friedrich, who faithfully represented the immensity of nature and the insignificance of the human being in relation to HER; the great mother, cannot but come to my mind.
Ancestral Cult contains four rather long songs, and a short piece that acts as some sort of hiatus or hinge between the fieriest songs. Their take on atmospheric black metal is very focused on the guitars and their melodies. This, together with a contemporary production, and neat and dynamic execution, makes listening to Ancestral Cult quite an enjoyable experience. They know how to drive the listener, like expert chauffeurs, through an intense and not very long ride.
The four tracks drink from the same wellspring with moments of blacker explosion and more contemplative passages, and all the potential is developed right from the start in «The birth portal«, which combines all the characteristics of the band’s music. ARDE‘s potential can already be felt with «The birth portal«, which brings together all the musical characteristics of the band. For «Síle» they have had the special collaboration of the American artist Amelia Barker, who has composed the song, sings it, and also plays the acoustic guitar and the violin. It is a short folk piece that may remind us of MYRKUR‘s recent work and that contrasts with the other four pieces in a surprising way.
The theme of the album is dedicated to the ancient cults of goddesses and the figure of women, which has always been central to many ancient cultures. And the truth is that they know how to convey it perfectly with lyrics which also are that are entertaining to read. By the way, in «Vesica Piscis» they even include a fragment recited in Basque.
In a year that atmospheric black metal has had a big role within the extreme metal movement, it is possible that this album hasn’t gotten all the attention that it deserves. And, the truth is that, at first, it may seem like an album common record, but if you pay a little more attention, they will manage to conquer you without any difficulty. But, yes, I maintain that the guitars are the ones that sustain the project, as they do a quite varied job in terms of melodies and riffs. And, of course, I must mention the performance of the drummer Łukasz Bieganski, who reminded me of a lot of great musicians of this scene such as Aaron Weaver or Aesop Dekker.
Translated by Irene López