Ancient VVisdom - 33 album review

Occult hopefuls fail to conjure magic

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It’s not every band that can capitalise on the initial flush of excitement that surrounds a great debut album. Lots of people were pinning their hopes on Ancient VVisdom being the next big 21st‑century occult rock band to follow in footsteps of The Devil’s Blood and, more significantly, Ghost. Sadly, since that undeniably intriguing first salvo, the Americans haven’t done anything to disavow a creeping feeling that the emperor has his meat and two veg on display. There are several enjoyable moments on 33, not least the insistent, brooding title track, but it’s a jarring paucity of ideas that undermines the overall effect. Vocalist Nathan Opposition’s po‑faced, monotone delivery adds little to what are some clumsily prosaic lyrics, and the musical backdrop rarely strays from a restrained, midpaced plod. In truth, it all sounds about as malevolent as a night spent carol singing in an orphanage and is only partly redeemed by the airy warmth of the production. Quite why Ancient VVisdom’s formula seemed so fresh and exciting in 2011 and yet so stale and charmless now is a mystery, but any semblance of dark magic has evaporated completely here. Maybe the Devil switched to Spotify.