Review Summary: Introducing the sleeper hit of the year.
To define Ancestors is both incredibly difficult and quite simple. Clearly the derive their sound from prog/ psychedelic masters, Pink Floyd, but also have a sound all to themselves. It's beautiful, haunting, emotional, and atmospheric. It's a completely immersible organism. One that is connected throughout, full of life and sound. In short, massive in size as well as scope.
Of Sound Mind is comprised of eight tracks, four fully fleshed out compositions, and four instrumental interludes. However, these interludes are ones you will actually want to listen to. Not mere ambient noise filled tracks with blips of sound, but are actually well thought out. Often times filled with piano or keyboard, these are some of the most beautiful areas of the album. The songs are massive, about 14 min. average. They blend into each other, but maintain an individual personality. At nearly 18 minutes, "The Trial" is the album's highlight. Full of highs an lows, "The Trial" is an epic in every sense of the word. All of this is accomplished without it dragging at all.
The instrumentals themselves fit the album perfectly. Everything is done to fit the mood of the piece perfectly. Yet, when you thought the guitar was only there to texture the sound, out breaks a fully realized solo. Not endless wankery, but well plotted and completely fitting. The keyboard is utilized without being over used and vocals are sparingly used, done well, but nothing to write home about.
As stated earlier, Ancestors are reminiscent of Pink Floyd. They do just enough to be original, but certain areas would be completely believable in a Pink Floyd album. This is slightly disheartening as it strips a little too much, making it seem slightly trite in areas. That being said, Ancestors could have found worse source material.
Yet to say that Ancestors ripped off anyone would be an insult to everything they did right. After careful listening it is obvious that they have their own sound. It's slightly heavier than most psychedelic albums, often times heavily distorted with low tuned guitar. Polar to that is the piano, which adds incredible depth, and it only gets deeper when acoustic guitar is added, such as in the song "Challenging." The vocals are even less frequent, giving the whole work more of a post rock/metal vibe.
Of Sound Mind is literally impossible to categorize. Prog, metal, psychedelic, post-rock, drone, and probably a million others being left out. To describe it in one word, I would have to say "sprawling." Its, bold and ambitious, stretching out in all directions to completely absorb and immerse the listener. If Of Sound Mind is any indicator, Ancestors could have a wonderful and successful career ahead of them.