Ancestral - Master of Fate 01A couple of years ago, I did a favor for Underground Symphony Records, and they retaliated by sending me a package of OOP and/or hard to find old power metal CDs — much to my delight. Amongst those CDs was the 2007 debut of Sicily’s Ancestral, a work of rough-edged, chaotic, yet surprisingly aggressive and adept power metal. Skip ahead a handful of months, and the band was announcing its upcoming sophomore release on Facebook after a wait of nearly a full decade. Given my preoccupation with The Ancient Curse, I actually pre-ordered Master of Fate after hearing the album’s teaser on Youtube. The end result was one of the few instances where everything went oh-so-smoothly: the debut was great, the teaser for album two was great, and the end result in full was, indeed, great.

Opener “Back to Life” steamrolled me right out of the digipak, and the blows keep coming as the album forges on. Though Ancestral is Italian, it features none of the keys and precious little of the cheese of many of its power metal compatriots. While Fabio Lione (ex-Rhapsody of Fire, Angra) is featured on “Lust for Supremacy,” that track differs not at all from the band’s usual approach. Few acts in European power metal (perhaps Blind Guardian, Rage, Eldritch, Kiuas) manage to strike as adroit a balance of thrash-like dissonance, rhythmic fury, and shocks of sing-along melody. Master of Fate is heavy and wastes absolutely no time trying to be something that it’s not. There’s very little wasted space here, and the closest thing to power metal’s typical momentum-sapping ballad is the unusually varied and interesting “No More Regrets.”

Ancestral - Master of Fate 02
Euro-power fans will likely find “Back to Life,” “Lust for Supremacy,” and “Master of Fate” the most appealing tracks, as they conjure the most memorable vocal lines. Those in search of more aggression and less overt melodicism are more likely to appreciate the ambitious “Wind of Egadi,” the beefy riffs of “Seven Months of Siege,” and the searing instrumental “Refuge of Souls.” The band doesn’t mind getting technical at times, such as in said instrumental and the borderline prog-thrashy closer “From Beyond” (evocative of Mekong Delta and Vektor), and it rounds out its smörgåsbord of metal stylings with a cover of Helloween’s “Savage.”

Master of Fate is truly one of the most instrumentally capable and furious power metal releases of 2017, and every cog in the machine is primed to deliver. Not only are the guitars consistently churning out new riffs and writhing rhythm lines, but the frenetic drums are routinely a highlight and the bass work is absolutely outstanding (check out “From Beyond”). Vocalist Jo Lombardo may have an interminable accent, but his delivery is quite respectable and he packs a great wail. The only pointedly negative thing I have to say about Master of Fate is that its energy and originality dips a bit during “No More Regrets” and “On the Route of Death” before things close with a bang. That, and Ancestral encounters the oft-contracted Italian plague of dreadful grammar and accented vocals. So novel is the group’s approach and so potent its execution, however, that I have no difficulty recommending this to a fairly wide crowd.

Tracks to check out: “Back to Life,” “Wind of Egadi,” “Refuge of Souls,” and “From Beyond”


  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    SHREDDED PRIEST

    • POWERLEMUR

      Muscle pope tentacle tango?

      • Brutalist_Receptacle

        NO.

        • HeavyMetalHamster

          Play nice…

    • Name’s Dalton

      With Gyno.

  • Dr. Wvrm

    That cover looks like a Magic card, maybe some sort of blue Parallel Lives, seeing as the band photo is bookended by clones. The music’s not bad though.

    • Thë Brycërøy

      Sicilians WOULD play Blue Control…

    • I tap Black Lotus!

      • Zach Ward

        BAN THIS MAN!!

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    wtf is cheese, anyway the embedded track sounds ok, not great, not bad

  • André Snyde Lopes

    ДИCΞSTRДL?
    DICXSTRDL?

    Weird band name…

    • Perfect.

    • Darren

      I’m choosing to read that as ‘Dick Strudel’.

  • hallowed

    A missed chance. The character in the cover should’ve been pictured showing his muscled back. And that logo makes no sense.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      That would have landed it on AMG’s Himself Top Ten(ish) List!

  • Thë Brycërøy

    Good to see Slash’s cousins getting work.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Those two guys must be brothers. Kind of reminded me of Gill and Dale Pebberts. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/85707689236c9298b02f5072a0ff36e03eb3f47f36a8a70e17b3fea7aa59d5f5.jpg

      • Thë Brycërøy

        Where does the hair end and the band begin?!

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          There’d be no band without hair.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        I actually had to google that to verify if it was a real band picture or some sort of joke… and still not sure. It also struck me that the band is named Rattt Kinggg and they took their picture with their hair entangled as rat tails would be in a rat king. Coincidence or reference?

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Pope Emeritus IV 2018 pin up calendar contribution.

    • Swordborn

      Yeah, I don’t get the black mitre either.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Soooo….for us rating system dependent folk…..would this be a 3.5 ?

        • Swordborn

          4.0 on year end for me. Made my top list despite terribad accent and lyrics.

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      LATVIAN ORTHODOX!

      • Matt slatz

        George…..why do you want to convert to Latvian Orthodox?

        • Brutalist_Receptacle

          The hats: they’re very pious.

    • Those As are made of Ds!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Popes just wanna have fun.

  • Thë Brycërøy

    I actually listened to two minutes of the embed. You owe me two minutes of The Black Halo quality PM, Swordborn…

    • brutal_sushi

      *put on monocle… actually that era of Kamelot is considered dark metal, which does have power metal influences, but is not defined as power metal it’s self

      • Thë Brycërøy

        *chokes on tea*

      • Nukenado

        Eat Evergrey, you pleb!

  • Serjien

    Not bad… But nothing new or original here.

  • No accent can scare me away if the music is good.

  • Norpal Nordickson

    My desperation for the modern state of power metal is yet another few inches deeper.

  • Maximos662

    This is…. not bad at all. If more power metal were as relatively dairy-free as this, I’d listen to more power metal.

  • PotaD0s

    This is power metal and it does not suck. I don’t say that very often.

    These guys have balls.

    • Mr T

      By the stance in the band pic I’d say massive balls. All of them.

  • Logos

    We need less Fabio Lione everywhere

  • SoLeftISeeRight

    One guy had to break the Italian dress code and wear a band shirt to compensate for his lack of salon hair. Replace him, stand them closer together and that could be a House Of Lords photo. Also, put Jason Momoa on that cover and it could be an Aquaman poster. Or, face him the other way and focus on his sweaty back to become eligible for a year long stint as AMG background.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Put Jason Momoa right smack in the middle of the band picture and call the band Aquaman and his Aquaminions?

      • SoLeftISeeRight

        Hipster ska metal!

  • Nukenado

    Hmm, not my thing, but it’s more aggressive PM fare, f’sho.
    That cover though…
    Why the pitch-black mitre?

  • Wilhelm

    Sounds like older Blind Guardian, when power metal was like a more powerful take on speed metal. I rarely listen to stuff like this anymore but when I do, I wonder why I don’t more often. Good stuff.

  • Tofu muncher

    All this time, my beach attire has been wrong, or I have been wrong concerning beach attire.

  • Tofu muncher

    A very good power metal album this.