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Experimental/Post Metal • United States

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Ancestors biography
Founded in Los Angeles, USA in 2006

ANCESTORS are an experimental/post metal band from the United States whose members are Justin Maranga (guitar,vocals), Nick Long (bass,vocals), Brandon Pierce (drums), J. Christopher Watkins (organ,vocals) and Chico Foley (electronics,keyboards,vocals).

ANCESTORS released their full-length debut "Neptune With Fire" in 2008.Consisting of only two songs but totalling almost 40 minutes in length,the album was well received by fans and critics alike.In 2009 ANCESTORS released their sophomore effort "Of Sound Mind".

ANCESTORS' music is a hybrid of post metal,doom,stoner,psychedelia and drone and are highly recommended for fans of this particular sub genre.

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ANCESTORS discography

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ANCESTORS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.29 | 16 ratings
Neptune With Fire
3.85 | 33 ratings
Of Sound Mind
3.89 | 18 ratings
In Dreams And Time
4.00 | 4 ratings
Suspended In Reflections

ANCESTORS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ANCESTORS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ANCESTORS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ANCESTORS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.50 | 2 ratings
Ancestors / Graveyard
3.50 | 6 ratings
Invisible White


Showing last 10 reviews only
 In Dreams And Time by ANCESTORS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.89 | 18 ratings

In Dreams And Time
Ancestors Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars Ancestors - "In Dreams And Time" 13/20

45th place album of the year 2012

I first stumbled on "In Dreams And Time" after its striking artwork caught my eye in the 'new releases' section of Prog Archives. I tracked down the band's facebook page, gave them a like, and thought that would be the end of it. But a few months later I spot a familiar cover in my local record store. I was intrigued at how a band like this could get their music shipped all the way out to my useless store in New Zealand, let alone on costly vinyl. I also thought how awesomely hipster I would be if I had a vinyl copy of an album from a band with <2000 facebook likes, and that I had never heard previously.

I contemplated purchasing it for a while, but after giving it a spin and hearing the first few seconds of "Whispers", I decided against it, because it really wasn't my thing. But for some reason I decided to download it anyway, probably because I had bandwidth to use up. Nevertheless, my strange decision to download this album which I had dubbed as "not my thing", led me to discover two tracks that were completely "my thing", and are amongst my favourite tracks released in 2012, "The Last Return" and "On The Wind".

Pirate haters rest easy, after my discovery of these two great tracks, I did in fact purchase the album, because I do that with albums I like. And after that, even the heavier side of the album grew on me, resulting in its placing in my album of the year list.

The music here has been described in many different ways, with stoner metal and psychedelic metal coming in most often, but many variants in between. Most of the heavier material draws from traditional doom metal, with majority of vocals being 'half-clean', almost yelled vocals primarily used in traditional doom and thrash metal, with occasional use of death growling (Corryvreckan), but mainly for texture as opposed to primary attention. Although naturally the music falls within the problem a lot of doom has with long and drawn out patterns becoming quite boring and repetitive. The final chorus (if it is a chorus) of "Running in Circles" is one of my favourite bits of the album, but it repeats too many times for me to bother counting. "First Light", being 19 minutes long, obviously falls into this category, and I believe the band could have got through all the themes and sections in at least 14 minutes, quite a bit of filler.

But despite being a bit long-winded, "First Light" is quite clearly the highlight of the heavier songs, showcasing some of the album's best vocal melodies, especially about 6 minutes in, the "This sea of sights will fall to rest?" section, which also shows some of their best use of psychedelic layering. As mentioned earlier, the long solo (not really a solo though) section is a bit boring, but it does showcase the band's ability to stretch a song out this much without immediately noticing it, which is a required skill for prog. The final section (last 3.5 minutes) is really worth the wait, and is one of my favourite parts of the album.

The real highlights of this album are the songs that pulled me in, where the band shifts out of the doom zone into more post-doom territory. And yes, post-doom is a genre I made up, mainly because there is no other way to describe this sound. It refers to bands who use the cornerstones of doom metal, atmosphere, texture, emotion, etc, to make music that isn't exactly doom-y, at least not in a melancholic, depressing way.

"The Last Return" is one of my songs of the year. In fact it currently sits in 11th place, on a list with some very good material. The song immediately reminds me of recent Anathema records, with the use of female vocals from co-writer Carah Faye. The song is based around some wonderful piano, which recalls some of Beethoven's sonatas in the song's climax. There is also an element of post-rock/shoegaze here (I still don't know the difference) with tremolo picking used throughout. As of today I have played this song 29 times, a real gem.

The atmospheric side of Ancestors returns in "On The Wind", which also brings elements from the heavier songs including the distorted guitar and harsh vocals. This is also the only other time piano is used, and hearing these two songs, I really think that piano can be a great asset to doom metal and should be used more, as whenever it comes in here the music is lifted so much higher. The vocal layering is also fantastically well done, layering both clean and unclean perfectly with the guitar and piano. The song ends with a lengthy solo over a Hammond organ, probably the best solo on the album.

This is a strong release from Ancestors, and I will be checking up on their earlier material, as well as watching for future releases. I recommend this to anyone who likes doom, layers, atmosphere, piano and classic psychedelic music, as this is quite an interesting modern and heavier take. I also recommend "The Last Return" to anyone with ears. Even my mother likes that song.

Stream the album for free here:

Review originally posted at my facebook page/blog

 Of Sound Mind by ANCESTORS album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 33 ratings

Of Sound Mind
Ancestors Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Of Sound Mind" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, Los Angeles, California based stoner metal act Ancestors. The album was released through Tee Pee Records in October 2009.

Ancestors play an interesting mix of stoner metal and 70s psychadelic/progressive rock and in addtion to guitars, drums, bass and vocals, there are keyboards, electronics and an omnipresent organ featured in the music. The vocal style varies between raw and clean (when the vocals are most mellow they remind me of the vocal style on the early seventies releases by Pink Floyd). The bandīs debut album "Neptune With Fire (2008)" was quite a mouthful, as it consisted of only two 15 - 20 minutes long tracks of stoner metal with long sections of jamming and only limited use of vocals.

Ancestors have developed their sound significantly since the debut though and while most tracks featured on "Of Sound Mind" are still very long (out of 8 tracks on the 71:26 minutes long album, 4 tracks exceed the 12 minutes mark), the tracks are much better composed and more structured than the tracks from the debut album. There are still some long jamming parts on the album, and I have to admit that some of the parts in tracks like "Bounty of Age" and especially the 17:34 minute long "The Trial" go on a bit too long for my taste.

I wasnīt exactly expecting to be blown away by "Of Sound Mind" as I found "Neptune With Fire (2008)" a bit unfocused and lacking structure. "Of Sound Mind" has really surprised me though and to my ears itīs a quality album, featuring solid musicianship, an organic sound production and some well written material. I still find some of the jamming parts unnecesarily long but thatīs ultimately an aquired taste so I wonīt hold it against the album. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

 Neptune With Fire by ANCESTORS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.29 | 16 ratings

Neptune With Fire
Ancestors Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Neptune with Fire" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Los Angeles, California based stoner metal act Ancestors. The album was released through North Atlantic Sound in February 2008.

The music on the album is predominantly instrumental/jamming stoner metal. There are vocals featured on the album (and some pretty great ones I might add) but the music is mostly instrumental. "Neptune with Fire" features only two tracks, but both tracks are more than 15 minutes long to make the albumīs playing time 38:40 minutes. In addition to guitars, bass, drums and vocals there are two keyboard players in the lineup playing organ, various keyboards and electronics. Itīs all very tastefully delivered and the album features a very organic sound and a pleasant earthy atmosphere. Because of the very long playing times, the two songs have a lot of time to develop, but while both tracks go through a couple of transitions during the playing time, there are actually very few sections in each song. Most sections go on for a long time, while solos are being played. So if you enjoy laid back and pleasant sounding jamming stoner metal "Neptune with Fire" is definitely recommendable.

Upon conclusion "Neptune with Fire" is a pretty strong release with great musicianship and a warm organic production, but the songwriting could have been a bit more focused if you ask me. My attention has a tendency to wander when the solos (which are well played but not flashy or especially adventurous) just go on and on and on. Fans of the genre might appreciate the jamming element more than I do though. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

 Of Sound Mind by ANCESTORS album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.85 | 33 ratings

Of Sound Mind
Ancestors Experimental/Post Metal

Review by SometimeWorld

4 stars Over the last few months I have briefly conversed with band guitarist Justin Maranga through blog comments and the odd email with regards to the band's first release, and this, their sophomore release - due out October the 6th on Tee Pee Records. Judging from his opinion and my own excitement, i had huge expectations for this record. I was lucky enough to score a full preview back in early August.

I really enjoyed 'Neptune With Fire' last year. It was so different from everything else I had heard at the time. I came into this one expecting to be surprised and certainly was. For starters the riffs are just as gigantic as Neptune, but we knew they would be! This time around they have tightened it all up.. adding and including all different sounds, dimensions and themes to keep it fresh. Structure wise, there are 4 monster tracks - each clocking in at around 15 minutes give or take - and a series of short and contrasting interludes.

The opening track 'From Nothing' is the shortest on the album and is filled with all kinds of bizarre fidgety sounds, as if the band were preparing to deliver the collective wallop you know is on it's way. It leads into the doomy beginning of 'Mother Animal', which after 3 minutes of slow thunder turns into a short funky desert-like groove you can't help but smile and nod along with. The song builds and builds with momentum. You think you're at the peak of it and bam! Things eventually simmer down as the vocals re-appear, returning us to the stable gravity pull we know - if only for a moment! The bass and percussion keep it driving slow and doomy throughout, while the mesmerizing guitar and haunting organ paint all over the open canvas.

'Not The Last Return' is the first of two short and great piano pieces, letting your ears adjust. You can be sure another ass-kicking is waiting for you in a few moments. 'Bounty of Age' is currently streaming on the Tee Pee site, check it. The bluesy guitar playing in the middle parts is absolutely breath taking. It actually kinda reminds me of something from Neil Young's 'On the Beach' album, one of my favourites. Again the organ is just pushing the entire thing along from the background, it seems to be a common theme throughout the record and works very well. 'A Friend' is a new and interesting dimension to the band, making use of electronics and synthesizers, sounding like a lost part to Jean Michel Jarre's 'Oxygene' even.

It leads in to arguably the greatest song the band has created to date, 'The Trial'. The moment i heard the guitar come in i was amazed, the tones are just so damn powerful and majestic. This is clearly Justin's time to shine and he does as it slowly burns along. It's truly incredibly how these guys can turn the most sonically beautiful sound into such an evil, menacing beast. Such is the case as the song dips down into uncharted darkness, at which point Sera Timms of label-mates Black Math Horseman enters. I've been obsessed with their own album since it's release, and needless to say the Ancestors setting suits her to a tee! Never mind the fact i can't understand a word she says, she possesses one of the most distraught and powerful voices i have heard in a damn long while. She seems to be buried a little low in the mix, granted she still sounds great.. perhaps just a little quiet. I'm sure this was the sound they were going for though, and therefor is but only a minor quibble.

'Challenging', much like 'Not The Last Return' sees the return of the lonely piano as it's chord patterns pulsate throughout the quieter track - this time accompanied by some lovely acoustic guitar playing, which was a pleasant surprise. It serves as a great intro to stylistically, the most straight-forward of the longer pieces. Consider it the melodic ending to the insane trip, the rockin' journey back to our home planet! It moves quick, stays just long enough and kicks a great portion of ass before slowly coming to a close. This really sounds like all that 70's hard rock influence just gushing out. An outstanding closing to an outstanding album.

You can really tell the production has been amped up a few notches here. I absolutely love the keys spread all over this album, the bluesy guitar solos are very tasty as well. Every track fires on all cylinders, but if i had to I'd say 'The Trial' definitely blew me away the most. It's not very often you get that stunned in amazement feeling that this song left me with. Running in at just over an hour usually pushes it for me, but i still didn't want this one to end. I can tell i'll be revisiting it over and over again.

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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