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BWT1413 PARAMAECIUM - WITHIN THE ANCIENT FOREST (*NEW-CASSETTE, 2022, Bombworks Records) 637405142884
- Limited to just 100 Cassettes
- Part of the elite Metal Icon Series
- Silver tape shell
- 4-panel J-card w band pics
- Digitally remastered to perfection
- The album is on the Christian Metal Realm's Top-100 Christian Metal Albums with Extol, Crimson Moonlight, Antestor and Deliverance!
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT WITHIN THE ANCIENT FOREST....
Another pure masterwork only this time with even more symphonic elements, i.e. flutes, violines, chellos, harpsicords, etc. Another element that adds to the appeal is the outstanding opera vocals of Sue Bock, who has an amazing voice. This particular album is a concept album based on a book, also titled "Within the Ancient Forest" written by bassist/vocalist Andrew Tompkins. The story is of a young man in search of truth in a land where immortals, dragons, magic, and the powers of darkness prevail. I have never read the book, but the music is fabulous, even without the storyline.
NOLIFETILMETAL REVIEWS - Scott Waters
This is their peak. You get a lot of folk medieval instruments not common in these bands. You get melodic songs, fast parts, clean vocals, sopranos, spectacular drumming, an involving mood, etc. What else do you want? Not that ‘doomy’ and/or deathly as Exhumed but still surpassed by the maturity of ‘WTAFs’ grandeur.
5 OUT OF 5 RATING
"Within the Ancient Forest" is so fully-formed, and so ahead of its time in the way it capitalizes on and makes full use of musical tactics and techniques that would never be found in such complexity and tightness in the works of Opeth, Therion, and countless other power and death metal bands until a number of years later, that it deserves a huge amount of respect.
SPUTNIK MUSIC REVIEWS
Andrew Tompkins - male and growled vocals, bass, lyrics
Jason De Ron - guitar
Chris Burton - guitar
Jayson Sherlock - drums
Sue Bock, Rosemary Sutton, Annette Dowdle - female vocals
Roxanne Lascaris - cello
Sebastian Lorefice - harpsichord, piano
Judy Hellemons - flute
Mark Kelson - acoustic guitar
2022 Remaster DOWN THE LINE ZINE REVIEW (by Doug Peterson)
Paramaecium – Within the Ancient Forest
In 1995, some twenty-seven years ago, metal got established in every subgenre imaginable. One of those subgenres was doom metal, popularized by bands like Trouble, Pentagram, Candlemass, Saint Vitus and Paradise Lost. To understand doom a bit more precariously, it was Candlemass that released an album in 1986 that took doom and threw classical influences and clean vocals into the blender. They named their album Epicus Doomicus Metallicus and, lo and behold, ‘epic doom’ became another subgenre.
Now back to the year 1995, it was a pivotal year for metal in spite of the Pacific Northwest riding the airwaves with alternative and grunge-glistened bands, which was not a bad thing necessarily, but it was overkill. Concurrently, in the metal purist community, bands like My Dying Bride and Anathema integrated doom with death metal, which abdicated the likes of Ozzy Osborne to be the Doris Day of metal. I mean, after My Dying Bride included the track The Sexuality of Bereavement as a bonus on their 1993 Turn Loose the Swans, it was game over. And that makes an appropriate segue for the band Paramaecium (not the easiest band name to spell, dang it!) to be introduced.
From Melbourne, Australia comes Andrew Tompkins, a singer and bass player, who formed Paramaecium with guitarist Jason De Ron and drummer Jayson Sherlock, the former drummer with Christian death metal initiators Mortification. Exhumed of the Earth was issued on the same label as Anathema, as well as Christian label R.E.X. Records. That album, a virtuoso of epic doom and death, was well received and is now a classic amongst doom metal enthusiasts.
Two years later Paramaecium released their second full length Within the Ancient Forest. R.E.X. Records was in the process of folding so the band signed to a small German label which received distribution from Nuclear Blast. Musically, Ancient Forest is more diverse, melodic and technical than Exhumed, and every bit as brilliant. The band brought in second guitarist Chris Burton for this recording, and the musical arrangements highlight this. The album was meant to accompany a book Tompkin’s penned, an old world fantasy, written allegorically in the thematic nature of Pilgrim’s Progress, about Tompkin’s spiritual journey. While that book is now as scarce as hen’s teeth, the lyrics, based upon the book, stand on their own. Herein is an example from the first track In Exordium for your eyes to feast upon:
“…the vessel gains the embankment, the youth alighting on the shore.
He wraps the cloak for warmth against the asperity of the night, and
upon his gloved wrist the falcon waits until the light of dawn reveals
that which is unseen…”
Beginning with In Exordium (which happens to be the name of Tompkin’s recent death metal band), it is somber harpsichord and choral-style vocals, then transfused with a doom metal ensemble less than a couple minutes in. I would describe it as cold and majestic. Then Song of the Ancient brings in the doom wizardry, while female vocals are interspersed between death metal gutturals. I Am Not Alive continues with harpsichords in a chamber-like atmosphere. As the guitar and bass throw the gears into a chugging dirge, soprano vocals enter the spectrum and are later greeted by death overtones. Sherlock’s drums are locked in tightly. The Grave, My Soul bludgeons on with death-doom vibrancy, violin gracing this forebodingly dark and rapturous composition.
Up next, Gone Is My Former Resolve is nearly exclusive death vocals, though that spell is broken in the latter part with clean male/female trade-off singing. Of My Darkest Hour
is the quintessential sleeper on this album. Thrash-inspired riffing and death vocals are followed by flute, harpsichord and operatic soprano vocals, escalating this to a higher realm. The closing cut Darkness Dies begins with tantalizing guitar harmonics, a roaming bass and flute accents, and is by far the most melodic and expansive of the album’s repertoire. It twists and turns with its death-doom tonality, easily making it worth the price of the album alone.
Another aspect I appreciate about this album is its adherence to be faith-based without being instructional aka preachy. The lyrical approach is narrative, a somewhat rare commodity back in the day.
Within the Ancient Forest finally finds a home on vinyl, which will enhance the cadence of these compositions. This is a must-have for any metal enthusiast, especially die-hard fans of death and doom metal. Count yourself fortuitous for picking up this under-appreciated treasure.—Doug Peterson, Down The Line zine
In Exordium 4:39
Song Of The Ancient 6:57
I Am Not Alive 9:14
The Grave, My Soul 9:01
Gone Is My Former Resolve 8:31
Of My Darkest Hour 7:36
Darkness Dies 8:46