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Review: Ancalagon - First Age: Entering Legenda
First Age: Entering Legenda

Label: Nihil Voces Productions
Year released: 2001
Duration: 44:16
Tracks: 7
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: February 18, 2011
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating
First Age: Entering Legenda

Rated 4.5/5 (90%) (10 Votes)

A surprising and overlooked gem here from the Black Metal world. Seeped in Tolkien lore and a Pagan disposition, this is the only full-length from one-timers Ancalagon, a record that unites several strands of the generic makeup and turns them into something quite unique.

First Age: Entering Legenda is a vicious but beautiful assault from this French quartet, and unlike a lot of Black Metal produced in this style, there is an actual band behind it, not just one guy in his bedroom, and this factor makes everything here sound sincere and all the more devastating. Towing the line between the epic and aggressive, Ancalagon play a sophisticated form that uses melancholic devices so prevalent in experimental Black Metal today, with the fast and furious assault of the early scene, giving us a countenance somewhere between Agalloch and Emperor, though there moments of intensity not unlike prime Dissection, and a Viking Metal feel that can be attributed to thousand of similar acts. With a production that is crisp and neat, First Age is a listenable blast of darkness that visits many moods and emotions, but the strength lies in the guitar work and vocals, both of which are of a very high standard. There are riffs galore (and not just mindless tremolo passages, but actual riffs), and the screams and howls of vocalist Arjarn are the tortured cries of Mother Nature. In all, it makes for a genuine reprise of all that's unholy about this genre.

Black Metal is a subjective style for sure, but there's enough here from every component to snare even a closet fan. We have the untamed fury of the second wave, the grandeur of the rising Viking scene, and the acoustic brilliance of its modern façade. Truly, a debut from a band that could have become giants.

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