Swedish doom metal ensemble Spelljammer most definitely hold true to their claim of playing “slow and heavy most of the time.” The band’s third EP since forming in 2007, Ancient of Days is standard stoner doom metal fare without the flair. The heavy guitar work is backed by solid bass and drums, yet the atmospheric pleasure is lost to mind-numbing repetition.
Starting track “Meadow” clocks in at a whopping 11:50; the lengthy duration of the five songs total the same amount of time as a conventional album double the size. Yet the impressive span of the opener in no way adds to the experience. A single riff dominates the nearly twelve minutes, droning on through the majority of the song; the bridge merely the same melody with softer dynamics. The classic theme and variation format is what most of the doom genre is comprised of, yet somebody forgot to add in the variation; only subtle changes are made as the mammoth comes to a close, the main riff is broken down into separate licks as a background electric experiments with vibrato.
“Laelia” is a refreshing acoustic serving as the transition to “From Slumber,” beginning with warbling instrumentals transforming into powerful grinding notes. Soft phasing vocals progress to guttural as chords become more abrasive. Not much can be said of the vocalist’s abilities for the focus is placed on the harmony of the guitar and bass throughout the release. “The Pathfinder” is once again largely the reproduction of one riff, yet in segments the strings are able to deviate from pattern and produce psychedelic splashes. “Borlung” finishes the five song set off rather uneventfully: in essence it is just a recombination of the already stated components stretched out over another eleven minute period.
Fans of the doom or stoner metal genres may love Ancient of Days for its adherence to genre essentials, however, there is not enough to make others interested. With the exception of “Laelia,” every track seemed to blend together into a one drawn-out repetition of notes.