“History is not the soil in which happiness grows. The periods of happiness in it are the blank pages of history.”
As a representation of the philosophical leanings and musical expressions of the black metal duo Ancient Hostility, Hegel’s quote points in the right direction, toward the cycles of violence and misery that persistently drag human endeavor two steps backward after each step forward. To come closer to the source, the band’s shattering vocalist Imber provides her own summing up: “Ancient Hostility is just referencing the hate humans have had for each other since the dawn of our existence. It’s all about how we’ve treated each other – how we’ve always killed each other and we always will because this is what we’ve evolved to do. It’s part of human nature.”
Depressive sentiments, but for those with eyes to see, who could insist with any genuine conviction that they are wrong? For those who choose to look away, the music of Ancient Hostility may not prove to be appealing, for it screams its rage and pain with genuine conviction. Yet the sheer emotional force of this music may penetrate even the most hyper-optimistic minds, while simultaneously casting spells that might break down the defenses of even steadfastly resistant souls. For the rest of us, who need no convincing, but relish the catharsis of music that channels with raw feeling our darkest reflections, Ancient Hostility‘s self-titled debut album is a black gem.
We have an excerpt from the album to share with you today in advance of its June 7 release by the cassette label Akashic Envoy Records, and it’s a powerful statement of intent that won’t leave you in the same place it found you.
We’ll give you a bit of background information about the band in a minute, but first a few impressions on what you’re about to hear in the song we’re premiering, the name of which is “World of Decay“.
The music moves slowly, like the toll of terrible years that continually claw us backward as a species. Glacial dragging chords and methodically slugging drum beats, shrouded in distortion, begin creating a dismal vision immediately. Weirdly reverberating notes seem to gleam with unearthly light and, and the pulse of the bass sometimes shivers like a disease vector spreading uncontainably. Against this backdrop, Imber discharges absolutely ear-shattering vocal torment, a shrieking wound that won’t heal.
These ingredients combine to create a frightening dirge, a sonic encapsulation of plague and emotional fracturing, yet for all its skin-stripping, brain-lacerating impact, it slowly weaves a spell. Phantasms seem to appear, glimmering with pale, haunting beauty in the midst of such utter desolation. At the end, where there is a reprieve from the vocal intensity, slowly picked notes ring out, creating a vision of mystical wonder.
It’s the kind of song that will likely cause most listeners to shake themselves, and then go back to the beginning, to listen more closely, to try to pick out more carefully all of the moving and contrasting parts (both muscular and evanescent) that coalesced into such strange and disturbing sensations.
And now for that bit of background we promised: Ancient Hostility is a duo composed of Ukrainian multi-instrumentalist SadVoice (also of the DSBM project Inner Suffering) and American vocalist Imber (also of the raw cosmic black metal band Aludra). Imber explains what led to her collaboration with SadVoice: “I discovered his music with Inner Suffering, and emailed him to let him know how much I enjoyed it, especially the ambient DSBM albums he made. We became friends, and I ended up doing guest vocals on the Inner Suffering album Slow Dance on the Ashes of Failure. Ever since that came out in Feb 2018, we’ve talked about doing a band together.”
As for the song we’re premiering, we have these further words from Imber: “’World of Decay‘ is about the amount of death that has accumulated on the Earth, and how we live upon our own grave: ‘The planet of human remains. The dirt beneath our feet, created by the deceased. World of Decay, our home, our grave.'”
Ancient Hostility will be available on June 7 from Akashic Envoy Records on matte black cassettes in a clear case with a two-sided, full color three-panel j-card. The first run is limited to 25 copies, with 20 available via AER. Preorders will start on May 28 at the location linked below. And as a further taste of what the album holds in store, we’re also including a stream of the previously released track “Conjured Odium“.
AKASHIC ENVOY RECORDS: