Los Angeles psychedelic-doom drivers Ancestors are already back with another new album after last year’s acclaimed two track debut Neptune With Fire, and this time around they’re  arguably even more ambitious. On the eight track Of Sound Mind, the band expands their scope and continues their doom-laden trip down nostalgia lane, with plenty of prog rock inspirations. And lots of guitars.

Imagine a hippier Kylesa, if they listened to more Bigelf than Buzzov*en and wrote  ten minute songs, or a modern version of the psychedelic-era Pink Floyd that borrows from Hawkwind and Sleep without forgetting about Isis or Neurosis, and that’s probably getting close to a quick description of Ancestors’ brand of organ-driven prog-doom.

For instance, after a mere minute-long, meandering intro track, “From Nothing,” Ancestors delves fully – and dolefully – into the fourteen minute “Mother Animal” with electric organs, dense walls of chords, and enough David Gilmour-inspired guitar work work to no doubt make a posthumous Syd Barrett relatively content. But it never feels overlong – Ancestors keeps the proceedings musically interesting, and manage to maintain a cohesive theme throughout, relying on the quintet’s musical chops and tight-but-flowing melodies that somehow tie all the tracks together into one sound song. Vocals are often banished  to the backseat in favor of organ-drenched walls of noise more collectively King Crimson-esque (but wholly Kyuss approved) than Sun O)))-styled ambiance.

Unlike much of modern metal’s youngster crowd, who often  inject keyboards as atmospheric romps over guitar-driven breakdowns, the work of Ancestors’ Jason Watkins is – thankfully – more reminiscent of the 70s than of current trends, providing not only atmosphere, but delightful melodies that equally compliment guitar lines and group effort vocal runs as much as they drive Of Sound Mind‘s collective themes.

This album is a grower – in more ways than just the large landscape of any song’s length. But give it a few listens all the way through and it comes off as a record, not just a collection of songs.

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(four out of five horns)


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