Oblivion’s Legacy

The introduction to this sophomore release by ANCIENT SETTLERS filled me with dread. An immediate terror of theatrical horror metal gripped me. Thankfully, the track The Contemporary Circle Of Misanthropy quickly evolved into a powerful, savagely delivered slab of melodic death metal. Danger averted, next job was to grapple with the complex and varied vocals of singer Argen Death, who switches from almost pop cleans to guttural growls with an ease that is often overlooked.

Tight riffs, plenty of melody and a searing bit of lead work in the opening few minutes, ANCIENT SETTLERS tick plenty of the extreme boxes. There’s a surprise on the title track with another change in vocal style, one which I’m not overly keen on, as a witchy drawl makes a quick appearance before the cleans come back in. It’s a lot to take in within the first ten minutes and it needs a couple of plays to totally absorb.

Musically, the dual guitar work of Carlos Chiesa-Estomba and Augustín Martinez is a highlight, their delicious interplay complimenting the rock-solid rhythm section. Hermán Riera’s drumming is tight and on point throughout, ably supported by the locked in bass work of Miguel Herrera.

The songs don’t overstay their welcome, and there is variation which helps to maintain the attention. Third song Stardust Odyssey switches from melodic metal to crushing doom in an instant, with Death once again bringing her full range to the fray. There’s plenty here for the thrash fan too, with the intensity of Wounded Heart one to catch.

Interesting changes of style are littered throughout Oblivion’s Legacy, such as the 80’s synth intro to Subversive which has layers of subtle keys adding depth and melody. At times the songs drift into semi-Euro-pop, the type that might threaten that horror of horrors, the Eurovision Song Contest. I’m sure that ANCIENT SETTLERS aren’t aiming for that market, but Subversive is one which could fit the bill… in parts anyway, as I’m sure the death growls wouldn’t be popular with that audience.

For me, it’s on songs like Coven Garden where ANCIENT SETTLERS really hit top gear. A ferocious piece, it’s one where the switch in vocal styles is probably unnecessary, with the growling roars more suited. However, that’s a minor point, for the overall heft of the track is enough to give the song the power and heaviness needed. More sweet guitar work pushes to the fore, and although the basic riffs are routine, the track is one that gives plenty.

The band have cleverly held back some of the biggest songs until the second half of the album. The Mechanical Threats Paradox continues in the same vein as before, with some pulverising blast beats and savage riffing, whilst The Last Battle In The Earth is as dark as its title suggests.

When you arrive at Redemption, which is the longest song here and which closes out the album, there’s no feeling of disappointment. Whilst ANCIENT SETTLERS follow a solid if routine formula, their songs are well constructed, performed, and keep your attention for the entire release. If you like your melodic death metal, this band, who draw members from Venezuela and Spain, should be one to check out. Oblivion’s Legacy is an interesting and enjoyable album from start to finish.

Paul Hutchings