ANCESTRAL LORE – Behind the Night Horizon
- by J.N.
- Posted on 29-05-2019
About a month ago, the French one-man band named Ancestral Lore released this 7-track offering both digitally and physically with the latter being a CD limited to 50 copies. The music that mastermind Christoph Florian has conjured up here is deeply rooted in pagan metal, folk metal, and black metal, which is to say that there is a strong emphasis on sweeping melodies, fantasy-inspired themes, and symphonic soundscapes.
The keyboards figure rather prominently in the mix and often drive the songs forward while the acoustic touches add a sense of calm and beauty to the compositions. Certain parts remind me of early Emperor and Enslaved with respect to how the guitar riffs and keyboards are interwoven while others bring to mind Summoning and Borknagar due to their evocative atmosphere and otherworldly aura. Actually, Borknagar’s self-titled effort from 1996 is not the worst or most far-fetched reference point here although Ancestral Lore’s sound and style is a lot less frantic and raw compared to that of early Borknagar. Then again, the majestic and at times medieval moods that course through "Behind the Night Horizon" do harken back to what quite a few other acts and artists were dabbling in way back in the mid-nineties, so there is a sense of nostalgia and longing to the album, which is quite charming. Magnificent pieces such as "Walking in the Mist" and "Sphere from the Blackwing" are highly enjoyable affairs with the former possessing a somewhat magical and introspective vibe while the latter is fierce and bombastic.
The vocals do lack a bit of conviction and power here and there, the balance between the various instruments is a tad uneven at times, and there are a couple of mediocre tunes to be found on the disc, but in the overall perspective, this is an interesting and oftentimes compelling release that is akin to a journey through mystical realms. The fact that it only lasts for 34 minutes is another huge plus in that it feels more compact and concise somehow when listening to it. You can also tell that a lot of work went into the creation of this thing with respect to both the music and the artwork. "Behind the Night Horizon" shows promise and potential, and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the talented Mr. Florian and this epic project of his.