Ancient Flame’s name is if anything, about as appropriate for it’s sound as possible. Tyrant Blood feels like a tour de force of all that black metal fans celebrate about the traditional sounds of the genre. Ukrainian atmosphere, nordic aggression, as well as tons of Hammertheartesque energy and profuse Judas Iscariot influence (albeit much more cinematically done). On a technical level, this album is near perfect, accomplishing a near flawless recreation of classics sounds from all over the black metal world, and combining them into a modern masterpiece that manages to sound distinctly 2019 in term of updated production, yet with all of the ideas and mannerisms that made classic black metal so damn good. Tyrant Blood feels like a masters thesis on black metal history, and there are very few albums in the modern era that I’ve ever heard that demonstrate such a perfect understanding of the various traditional black metal sounds as this.
However in all of this, while Tyrant Blood is one of the best celebrations of black metal I’ve heard in modern times, it is still a celebration. The experience to me is akin to listening to an amazing compilation record, however Ancient Flame doesnt really feel like he has any new ideas of his own. I’ve said it before, but black metal is definitely one of those genres where you can get away with not bringing a new idea to the table, however there comes a point where even if you are going to do that, you need to show that you can present more than one idea. Despite the fact that there are so many influences here, those influences are combined into effectively one sound that dominates the entire album. “The Druid” and “The Rising Flames of Hate” have some effective cinematic moments that deviate from the rest of the record, and there are moments of Finnish punkiness that can stand out, but as a whole Tyrant Blood shows entire self on the first track.
Nowhere is this more evident than the lyrics, which by and large, sound as if they are really one song rephrased and rewritten 7 different times. Not to say there isn’t any poetic skill involved, but after a while the notions of honor, brotherhood and war fall on deaf ears. Tyrant Blood is a fantastic technical demo of sorts, but doesnt feel like much of a personal project. All of the emotions and ideas it does display (and frankly displays very well) feel borrowed rather than reinterpreted.
That being said, lots of other bands have attempted to do what Ancient Flame does here, and quite honestly, the vast majority don’t come close to what he has achieved, no matter what year the album has been released. This is a black metal album, for black metal fans who appreciate the core aspects of the genre, and as a celebration of that you cant get much better than this. It may not be groundbreaking or perhaps necessarily creative in a fullest sense, but it is unique at least in the fact that it takes a big fat shit on all the other copycats who have attempted to do the same, as as such is not an album to be easily missed.
Content Analysis: there’s tons of light dogwhistles everywhere, which should be obvious to anyone who is familiar with black metal right wing dogwhistles in general, however other than perhaps some lyrics that could maybe be interpreted as anti immigrant, i wouldn’t consider this record remotely explicit enough to be a problem. Relatively safe buy, although perhaps the future of this artists’ discog will prove otherwise.
Where to Buy: https://ancientflamepa.bandcamp.com/releases