The Way of the Ancients

Kentucky’s melodic black metal act, Volcandra, have benefitted from continuity and it helps when your line-up stays intact.  Formed in 2018 Mike Hargrave (Drums), River Jordan/Jamie DeMar (Guitars) and Dave Palenske on cocals have stayed together since their 2020 impressive debut, Into the Azure.  The album was released independently and it was not until getting signed to Prosthetic Records that things started to take off for the band, with their 2022 EP for the label, Border World, which showed the band continuing their blend of melodic black metal, with many emotive elements.

The Way of Ancients, the second album, shows no sophomore slump as Volcandra incorporates a lot more atmosphere into this album with “Birth of the Nephalem” starting things off, with the rumbling drums and excellently crafted guitar melodies, the song gets faster and faster.  The blast beats kick in with the raspy black metal vocals and then the lower register death metal growling comes in and they sound great – Dave showing us he can bounce in between a variety of tones.  Around the 3.45 mark, one can hear the nods to Fallujah with those technical discordant and atmospheric moments.  The death metal vocals return as well and the song has a plethora of tempo shifts.  This is an exciting album opener!

“Nemesis Confession” starts off with some atmospheric sounds and then at the 45 second mark – BOOM!!! Right into the blasting metal madness, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, crank those headsets up, during that atmospheric ethereal buildup because you will blow your eardrums out once that music comes blasting in.  It’s unnerving how the music comes in and that also makes it quite interesting.  Check out those guitar melodies at the 2.28 section over the blast – simply mesmerizing and different than the norm.  The nice little growl at the 3.05 marker then right into that vintage 90’s death metal gallop will make you hold up those metal horns and thrash around the room, like a lunatic.  There are guitar solos over the blasting sections and elements of this band will have you thinking of classic Skeletonwitch, with the melding of death and black metal.  This is a terrific song and one of the best the band has crafted in their early career.

“The Blackened Temple” has a great opening melodic black metal riff right before the blast beats come in and these moments are excellent and that great main riff returns multiple times throughout the album and it’s quite catchy.  The title track ends the album and has a variety of tempo shifts, however it’s mostly a slower, atmospheric number drenched in emotive qualities, which the band does quite well.  It’s an excellent song to end the album with.

The Way of Ancients is a great release from Volcandra and sees the band incorporating more atmosphere and emotive qualities to their scorching blend of melodic death metal with smatterings of death metal across this sucker.  The production is the best the band has ever had and the songwriting is even stronger than their past releases and I loved those releases.  This album cover, is lacking a bit, though, as I prefer their prior release covers, this one seems a bit too basic.  For a title The Way of the Ancients, I would have expected something a little darker and more evil.  Small gripe on my part because Volcandra is an exciting band that I hope continues to release such quality music in the future.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
May 15th, 2024


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