Emerging from the "where have they been" category is Italian metal band Ancestral. They haven't had a studio album since their 2007 debut The Ancient Curse. But in the meantime they've had some personnel changes, bringing on board new guitarist Carmelo Scozzari in 2010 and vocalist Jo Lombardo in 2013. Master Of Fate is their second and latest album, with the cover art imagery perhaps reminding somewhat of a DIO album.
Honestly, with ten years passing, my recollection of Ancestral is only informed by my review of their debut album, where is generally favorable, yet ambivalent. Suffice to say, musically, nothing has really changed with Ancestral, which is just fine. They still play power metal at the pace of near Dragonforce-like speed. The album bursts from the gates Kentucky thoroughbred and doesn't really slow down to the end.
The Ancestral sound is characterized by two things: large guitars and a blistering rhythm section. The riffs are large, sharp, and sometimes abrasive and the leads sizzling and speed, and there's a lot of both. The rhythm section of brothers Benedetto (bass) and Massimiliano (drums) Mendolia roar, making no effort to balance pacing with fury. For them it's simply: charge like a herd of Pamplona bulls, and let the listener get the fuck out of the way. I could point to most any of the ten songs here as an example of these things, but the best example might be the instrumental Refuge Of Souls, simply devastating in hyperspeed power metal.
Yet it also betrays the album's weak spot: the vocals. It's not that Jo Lombardo can't sing. He's a fine metal vocalist, singing clean with a moderate, yet necessary, dash of metal screamo to his voice. But Lombardo is muted in the mix and mastering, overwhelmed by the power metal. It took more than half the album for my ears to adjust, and then I still couldn't understand him.
For some final notes, Lust For Supremacy features Fabio Lione (Rhapsody of Fire, Angra, Vision Divine) on vocals. The last song, Savage, is a Helloween cover. Overall, as I said earlier, Ancestral's Master Of Fate is simply more of the same from the band: racing and bracing, full throttle, guitar-forward power metal. If that's your thing, you'll dig this album.
Ancestral's Master Of Fate is simply more of the same from the band: racing and bracing, full throttle, guitar-forward power metal. If that's your thing, you'll will dig this album.
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