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Ancestors - In Dreams and Times (TeePee Records)

By: Matthew Bowling

[9/10] This is a bit overdue, In Dreams and Time having released sometime in April, but better late than never, as the saying goes, and nowhere is it more apt than in relishing praise upon this release. The stoner/doom tag placed upon the band is open-ended at best, especially when taken together with the myriad of dissimilar and often contradictory groups also smacked with it. For Ancestors and this particular release, however, the tag doesn’t extend any further than the first track. Oh no, what was grasped on 2009’s Of Sound Mind is here front and center: glorious prog excess with meandering jams, endless organ/moog indulgences, and psychedelic atmosphere run amok. …and it’s fuckin’ killer!

As noted, the metallic past of the band is at its richest in opener “Whispers,” the doomy crunch resonant and thick. Even at nine minutes, the spotlight is short-lived as the straight-forward track bleeds by in what feels like the blink of an eye. Haunting and surprisingly sticky atmospheres emerge through the use of female vocals on follow-up track “The Last Return,” the wall-of-sound perpetuated by ringing guitar, six minutes of effectively soft-heaven. Across most of the middle-body tracks, a tangible shift is made and the upper echelons of old school prog weirdness are freely engaged: rich (and constant) organ use, lengthy jams, build ups and fallouts, motifs emerging and subsiding, they’re all here! Piano lays heavy across the dirge-like beginnings of “On the Wind”` before picking up the pace (relatively) into an open-aired interplay of organ and guitar melodies. Really fantastic stuff.

Album heart and champion cut “First Light” is a monumental 19-minute exercise in texture and endearing exhaustion. A slow-burning and somber organ/vocal intro section eventually gives rise to a series of lonely guitar stretches. This too eventually shifts into an extended jam, resplendent with heart-wrenching leads that soar and sear alike, honestly rendering any attempts to justify them with words moot and absurd (this one included, just listen to it!). The track alone makes indulging the album a worthwhile experience.

While beginning in familiar enough territory, In Dreams and Time really goes the length to destroy expectations and redefine what lies beyond them. Left-field dynamics are utilized in the most fantastic of ways and it’s a royal shame to think that this release almost slipped my radar completely. An unforgivable tragedy that would have been, this thing is a game changer.

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