Ancestral Legacy have certainly taken the long way 'round en route to releasing their first full-length. After putting out a smattering of demos, the last of which hit in 2004, the Norwegian quintet disappeared faster than a Philadelphia sports fan's championship hopes. They came off of hiatus late last year, entering the studio to record an album, albeit without the backing of a label. Seeking distribution, and not wanting to waste the time (and presumable money) spent in the studio, Ancestral Legacy have put together an EP from the scraps of that recording in hopes of seeding interest for the forthcoming record.
"Trapped Within the Words" sounds like the illegitimate love child of Opeth and Lacuna Coil. "Forsaken" opens with a meaty groove worthy of "Ghost Reveries," then trades off clean passages for heavy hooks and back again. The track is an excellent, gothic take on the style of progressive metal that Opeth have by now perfected. The rest of the EP, unfortunately, doesn't match the quality of the opener. "Wordless History" comes close, but isn't quite as seamless. "Disclosed" opens with a garishly upbeat opening riff, and struggles to find solid footing from there. Beyond that there's a forgettable acoustic-ish interlude, and "Glimmer," the EP's acoustic/piano coda, is beyond useless.
Ancestral Legacy's most dynamic element is the contrast between Eddie Risdal's frost-bitten growl and Elin Anita Omholt's bracingly beautiful voice. Mercifully, Omholt eschews the trend of Nightwish-aping operatic earsplitting in favor of a more graceful, and decidedly more listenable, method of singing.
Ancestral Legacy have had ample time to hone their sound; hopefully they have used that time to craft an album that shows no signs of a band growing into themselves. Clearly, "Trapped Within the Words" is comprised of five tracks that could afford to be sacrificed from that album. With the exception of the opener, this would all be fluff, which is fairly encouraging; if this is the chaff than the upcoming full-length should be top notch.