“Ancient Warfare have hit upon a singular lonesome-highway energy, the kind that you can study but cannot fake.”
Based in Lexington, KY, Ancient Warfare are currently promoting their Summer 2015 Alias Records release, The Pale Horse, recorded with Duane Lundy ( Jim James, Ben Sollee, Vandaveer). Since 2011, they have developed a fierce reputation for hard work and dynamic performance, sharing stages with artists such as Raveonettes, Heartless Bastards, The War on Drugs, Chelsea Wolfe and Lucius. Ancient Warfare’s live show ebbs and flows from hushed harmony vocals to austere, tube-driven waves of sound.
Throughout the band’s debut record, The Pale Horse, singer/guitarist Echo Wilcox voices a vast landscape: last trials and bones, visions and paths to golden fields. Her lyrics are shared secrets, fevered dreams – all anchored by multi-instrumentalist Emily Hagihara (Jim James, Cheyenne Mize, Chico Fellini ), Derek Rhineheimer (Oh My Me) on bass and vox, Seth Murphy (Bear Medicine) on cello, french horn and accordion, and Drew English ( Cheyenne Mize, Natives, Gowns) on lead guitar, keys, vox. Wilcox and her band-mates are able to develop the distinctly cinematic, genre-bending sound of their debut album.
“The apocalypse seems the most appropriate subject,” said Wilcox. “Not in an epic sense, but in a sense that it is all-encompassing.” Indeed, The Pale Horse lures the listener into a golden dreamscape only to darkly demand resolution to the inescapable, universal plagues of love and death. This apocalyptic thread running throughout reminds us that everything good and true can end; The wild beauty of a crashing wave will inevitably become the succumbing regress of the tide. Such polarizing themes are pervasive throughout the record. Wilcox’s yearning vocals fluctuate in kind, emitted sometimes as a howl as on “Dreamcatcher”, sometimes as a macabre rollick as on “Gunsmoke.” The resulting sound is of a gothic renaissance breed, evoking images of tribal eccentricity and dramatic decay…