It is not often we hear some good metal brutality coming out of China. So that makes Beijing's thrash metal band Ancestor an absolute treat.
Their 2017 EP Age Of Overload is lyrically and technically complex, savagely intense, and gives us some good sound full of features of old school thrash metal. High speed, aggressive drumming, shouted vocals - all the good characteristics of an awesome thrash metal band. Except with a twist - they’re from Beijing!
The EP begins with the sound of thunder and a bell tower, leading us into a gentle minute-and-a-half acoustic guitar tune. It is a perfect hybrid to begin the album - while the guitar is calm, the lightning in the background makes us slightly uncomfortable and foreshadows the craziness about to come.
And then it starts.
A guitar roll, a slashing electric guitar and the very thrashy vocals to Immortal Dreams begins. With a fast-paced drum beat and mad riffs, interspersed with crazy guitar solos, this track wants to literally make you do just that - thrash your head and go crazy. “My body is getting heavy Illusion in my mind / The reality's full of blindness / Life without mercy”.
We think we might get a break when The Prince starts, but we are soon proven wrong. Winter Hurts takes us on another wild ride, and half-way through, we are treated to a slow acoustic guitar break followed by a slow, melodic guitar solo. The complexity in this solo is very impressive, and segways back into the thrashy vocals.
The beat intensifies, and the solo guitarist only gets more impressive, when we get into Into Madness. As we conclude with Holy Inquisition, a cover from thrash/death metal band Protector, we are treated to a differently sounding track that slows down and speeds up again with highly impressive complexity from the main guitar. This has got to be my favourite track because of the heretical lyrics;
“Bored hangmans - Desirous monks - Fanatic bishops - Agitating cardinals - Greedy informers - Innocent defendants - Crazy judges - Drooling accusers” “Wanton preachers - Laughing penitants - Smiling heretics - Praying believers Dying witches - Crying sinners”
The anti-religious, anti-establishment lyrics of “tortured minds” and “burning crosses” is a ferocious way of ending an incredible album (even though it is a cover).
This band provides a very old-school thrash metal feel, with remnants of Destruction and Kreator certainly lurking. It is so good to hear some of this great stuff coming out of Beijing, and I look forward to hearing and exploring more tunes arising from that nation.