- Zel ( pka Aphazel )-Vocals, guitars and keyboards
- Dhilorz-Guitars and bass
- Nick Barker-Drums
Ancient is a Norwegian black metal band from Bergen, formed in 1992. The band released six full-length albums released by Metal Blade Records to date and a variety of mini-albums, EPs and special releases. Ancient used to have the classic raw black metal sound, similar to Darkthrone’s works. Beginning with The Cainian Chronicle, they moved towards a more Nordic/atmospheric black metal sound, akin to Emperor and a cleaner production. After a period of turmoil concerning their line-up, they went on to add gothic-style instruments such as violins, a female vocalist, and synthesizers to their music.
To this day, Ancient can be considered as one of the original Norwegian black metal bands that were part of the now famous scene of the early nineties. They were one of the very first Norwegian black metal bands to sign for a semi-major label (Metal Blade Records). There is no evidence of any involvement of Ancient with the infamous occurrences of the Norwegian black metal scene, although they were part of the same scene. Ancient can be considered as a historical black metal act by all standards, whose path took a different course upon their relocation around the world and subsequent exit from the local Norwegian scene.
The band initially started out as a solo project of guitarist Aphazel in 1992. The following year, Grimm joined the band as drummer and vocalist. They released the Eerily Howling Winds demo in 1993 and the Det Glemte Riket EP in 1994. They subsequently signed to Listenable Records and released their debut album, Svartalvheim. After the release of the Trolltaar EP in 1995, Grimm left the band.
Aphazel later moved to the United States where he met Lord Kaiaphas of Virginia-based black metal band Grand Belial’s Key, who soon became the new vocalist and drummer of Ancient. In 1996, the band signed a contract with Metal Blade Records (which led to sellout accusations), and two new members joined the band: Kimberly Goss as a female vocalist and keyboardist, and Kjetil as a drummer. Together, they recorded Ancient’s second full-length album The Cainian Chronicle, and later embarked on a European tour.
In 1997, Goss was replaced by Erichte, Kjetil left the band, and a new guitarist/keyboardist entered Ancient under the name of Jesus Christ. With the new lineup, Ancient released their third album, Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends. After a world tour, Aphazel met Deadly Kristin, who became the new female vocalist, and he decided to move to Italy.
1998 brought more lineup changes: Krigse took over the drums, Dhilorz became the new bassist, and Lord Kaiaphas left the band. In 1999, The Halls of Eternity was released, with Aphazel as the new vocalist.
Upon the exit of Krigse, Ancient went on to find a replacement in the local metal scene. A new tour followed, including the band’s first concerts in Scandinavia, and in 2000, Ancient played at Wacken Open Air main stage with the new drummer GroM who joined in May 2000. A compilation EP, God Loves the Dead, was released in January 2001, featuring some remixes, a new single, and a cover of Iron Maiden’s ‘Powerslave’ song.
Ancient’s fifth album, Proxima Centauri, was recorded at Los Angered Recording (Andy LaRocque’s studio) and mastered at Sterling Sound in New York. It was then released in October 2001. Another world tour followed, including Mexico, Eastern Europe and Israel. Ancient then proceeded to move closer to their classic black metal origins and began the writing of a new album as a 4-piece without female vocals.
In July 2004, Ancient released their sixth album, Night Visit. Written in drummer GroM‘s studio at the feet of the Italian Alps, the album was recorded at Studio Fredman and mixed by Swedish producer Fredrik Nordström. Following the release, the band embarked on another European tour called “A Night VisiTour” in 2005, with Illdisposed as co-headliners and Final Breath as support. After the tour, GroM left the band.
Aphazel and Deadly Kristin released an album with their side-project called ‘Dreamlike Horror’, for Greek label Sleaszy Rider Records in June 2005.
Live, the band featured Aleister of Faust (a cult Italian death metal band) on guitar and following GroM‘s departure, also featured Nick Barker (Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, etc) on drums.
Ancient’s original demos, including Eerily Howling Winds, were re-released in 2005 in an album called Eerily Howling Winds – The Antediluvian Tapes.
In 2009 and 2010, they reformed for a new set of live shows in Spain and Portugal with Nick Barker as drummer.
Metal Blade has since then released a three-CD pack containing the band’s three releases before the final Night Visit album: The Halls of Eternity, God Loves the Dead and Proxima Centauri.
In 2011, band’s lead singer Aphazel announced that he had converted to Christianity, had shortened his artist name to Zel and also announced plans for a new studio album. The album, Back to the Land of the Dead, was released in 2016 by EMP Label Group, with the group subsequently signing with Soulseller Records. In early 2016, the band recruited guitarist Ghiulz (Bulldozer) as session guitarist for live performances.
Back to the Land of the Dead / 2016
1. Land of the Dead
2. Beyond the Blood Moon
3. The Sempiternal Haze
4. The Empyrean Sword
5. The Ancient Disarray
6. Occlude the Gates
7. The Excruciating Journey, Part I: Defiance and Rage
8. The Excruciating Journey, Part II: The Prodigal Years
9. The Excruciating Journey, Part III: The Awakening
10. Death Will Die
11. The Spiral
12. Petrified by Their End
13. 13 Candles (Bathory cover)
Back To The Land Of The Dead is the seventh full-length album by Norwegian black metal band Ancient released in 2016 on Soulseller Records.
Night Visit / 2004
1. Envision the Beast
2. Rape the Children of Abel
4. Night Visit
6. Night of the Stygian Souls
7. Fuel the Flames
8. The Truth Unveiled
9. The Arctic Mirage
10. Out in the Haunted Woods
Night Visit is the sixth full-length album by Norwegian black metal band Ancient released in 2004 on Metal Blade Records.
Proxima Centauri / 2001
1. A Lurking Threat
2. Proxima Centauri
3. The Ancient Horadrim
4. In the Abyss of the Cursed Souls
5. The Witch
7. Satan’s Children
8. Beyond the Realms of Insanity
9. Audrina, My Sweet
10. On Blackest Wings
11. Eyes of the Dead
12. Incarnating the Malignant Deity
Proxima Centauri is the fifth album by Norwegian black metal band Ancient released in 2001 by Metal Blade Records.
The Halls of Eternity / 1999
1. Cast into the Unfathomed Deeps
2. Born in Flames
3. The Battle of the Ancient Warriors
4. A Woeful Summoning
5. Cosmic Exile
6. Spiritual Supremacy
7. The Heritage
8. I, Madman
9. From Behind Comes the Sword
10. The Halls of Eternity
The Halls of Eternity is Ancient’s fourth full-length release. The cover-art is airbrushed by Perre, a Flemish airbrush artist.
This is the first album to feature Aphazel, as band’s vocalist. He recorded almost the entire album himself, except for drums, female vocals and guest appearance by Jesus Christ! on one song. Jesus Christ! was a member of the band, but he wasn’t able to attend the recording process.
Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends / 1997
1. Malkavian Twilight
2. A Mad Blood Scenario
3. The Draining
4. Um Sonho Psycodelico
5. Sleeping Princess of the Arges
6. Her Northern Majesty
8. The Emerald Tablet
12. Hecate, My Love and Lust
13. Vampirize Natasha
14. Black Funeral (Mercyful Fate cover)
Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends is Ancient’s third full-length release. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered in Cue Recording Studios, Falls Church, Virginia during September 1997.
This album hearkens a rather drastic change of musical focus for the group, into a more melodic/gothic-oriented approach with an influx of clean/female singing, slower tempos and majestic stringed instruments, though much of the group’s original black metal roots are still present. Song/lyrical topics also moved in a new direction, particularly with topics about vampires/vampirism. This has led to a strong backlash from fans and critics.
The Cainian Chronicle / 1996
1. Ponderous Moonlighting
2. The Cainian Chronicle, Part I: The Curse
3. The Cainian Chronicle, Part II: Lilith’s Embrace
4. The Cainian Chronicle, Part III & IV: Discipline of Caine / Zillah and the Crone
5. At the Infernal Portal (Canto III)
6. Cry of Mariamne
7. Prophecy of Gehenna
8. Song of Kaiaphas
10. The Pagan Cycle
11. Homage to Pan
The Cainian Chronicle is Ancient’s second full length release. On another note, the album’s length is 66 minutes and six seconds long.
The concept of the first part of the record (tracks 1-4) is a retelling of the fall of Cain, based not on the traditional Biblical tale, rather on the supplement The Book of Nod of the Vampire: the Masquerade roleplaying game; the first son of Adam and Eve, and first murderer. It chronicles his casting out, his relations with the demon angel Lilith and the leading to the procreation of their children, the Disciplines of Cain. The three part opus corresponds to three parts of The Book of Nod. “At the Infernal Portal” contains lines from Dante’s Divine Comedy, and the rest of the album is based on traditional Paganism.
Svartalvheim / 1994
2. Trumps of an Archangel
4. The Call of the Absu Deep
5. Det glemte riket
6. Paa evig vandring
7. Ved trolltjern
8. Eerily Howling Winds
10. (untitled outro)
Svartalvheim is the debut album by Norwegian black metal band Ancient released in 1994 by Listenable Records. This is the only album with the most raw black metal sound, as with their next releases, Ancient would begin to experiment with more atmospheric sounds akin to Emperor.
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