Reign A.D./ The Oracle – The Mountain Peaks of Prophecy


Has it been over a year since The Oracle released an official release? As I sit in my darkened hollow I have to cast my mind back. As I pour through the entity’s releases it sure becomes apparent. So when the news dropped that a release was on its way that a split would be issued with Reign A.D. a U.K. act Cloaked in as much mysticism as that of the aforementioned act I knew I had to speak with the entity behind The Oracle.

Having written for two of his full-lengths “Damnatio Memoraie” and “Hypogeum” I got in touch right away. As I started to type my message out in anticipation, nothing could prepare me for the lightning-like response. Met with some great chat just like before, and it was met with a resounding “yes” that I may review the entity’s next little opus. Before I knew it the files were within my possession and I eagerly grabbed a fresh roll of parchment, my Tobacco and felt as if I’ve been cooped in my abode that I needed to travel once again.

Preparing to take a flight to Worcester Massachusetts. As I take flight across vast oceans the chilling weather starts to hit. As I land in Worcester it’s a chilly 4 degrees yet still sunny. I wrap my robes around me and head on a stroll. As I walk the streets I find myself on what’s called Bancroft Tower Road. As I look I find what is called Bancroft Tower itself. An old reproduction built for George Bancroft after his passing.

As I look into the gated Tower I push hard against the gate and it shifts open. As I climb the tower I find myself in a tiny room. Bundled up I light some candles to give a little heat to the chill in the air. As I roll out my parchment ready to pen my first section of this review. A cigarette rolled I light myself from the flickering candles. I grab my headphones and place them onto my skull and ready myself for another musical odyssey of a journey into the entity’s mind and musical prowess.


The Oracle Side:

Day I starts with an almost countdown sound from the synths keys not before the deeper chords settle in creating an almost deep heavenly, yet slightly mediaeval sound. As a ticking overlaps both of these it almost drives home the sound of a ticking clock. The drums come in followed by chugging riffs. This is of course not B.M. as we know it, but rather an electronic journey into a dystopian realm that nobody can perceive. The addition of drums and riffs matched to that of either the mellotron or synth just gives off those pure NIN vibes and it’s quite easy to see some definite Trent Reznor influence mixed into this piece. No lyrics or vocals to be spoken of, but when the music does the talking in this manner it truly creates a scene of one of us falling into a dark and industrial world.

As the music gathers pace the volume rises and all the sounds come to a culmination of sound. As the sounds combine a high-pitch frequency shrieks through and brings with it crushing chords and the sound of crashing drums and as the tempo almost reaches boiling point we settle back to the thick industrial tones once again thick and heavy that is until the sound starts to wind down in the closing seconds. This short track is just a stunning example of the work that The Oracle produces. He paints such a dystopian nightmarish scene with his electronic sounds that just summon you like a leviathan to his lair.


The Oracle: Day II As the track starts you can hear what sounds like a million voices or even what could sound like the slow grinding of metal. The mixture of the two could somewhat be described as the human race being replaced with A.I. or machines. The waking or Dawn Of a new era. As the sound of the synth keys comes in slowly there is an ominance, an atmosphere building then it happens the thunderous sound of drums, slow and pounding like the sound of pneumatic pistons starting up or the sound of a machine crushing humanity beneath its cumbersome feet.

The screech of the guitar feedback almost mimics the sound of metal against metal. Is the reality of us finally being replaced by technology ever approaching or is it closer than we’d like to imagine? These heavy thunderous sections give way to little light breaks. The drums now just snare, kick drum and cymbals yet played so lightly that the heaviness has given way to a lighter yet happier memory. No sooner having said that we return to the almost nightmarish landscape and the machines have returned to claim what they intend to either eradicate or replace. The grinding guitars sound like cogs turning and spinning against one another and the synth almost represents billowing smoke that chokes and fills both your ears and lungs with a thick acrid grime.

This track certainly represents either waking from your worst nightmare or even being in a waking dream. One that you just don’t know what you are set to see through. Will we all one day wake to those beautiful light tones or will we wake to dark ominous skies and machines belching smoke as they grind their way through the last of the human race?



The Oracle: Day III light synth tones fill your ears and almost the sound of nature greets you. Was Day II just a nightmare? Or has the human race now been reborn into paradise? Have we reached that place we call heaven? Is it a place? The sound of stringed instruments would suggest so. We have in fact ascended to a much higher plane of existence. The sound of the violins and the light orchestral tones would certainly depict it. But as the track progresses the violins turn from a beautiful serenading sound to that of a much sinister sound.

The track picks up gently and the orchestra becomes more fractious in its playing style. Gentle drums build in the background. Is heaven about to be invaded? Have we let the devil in? Is there really a wolf in sheep’s clothing amongst us? As the pace and the structure of the track change. The sinister beat returns and the synth changes from its light and angelic tones to that of deep dark tones. Or is this just part of the waking dream I spoke of in the previous track? Are we all in a state of cryo-status sleep and is this the music we’d have pumped into our chambers? Only for the door to open and reveal the true horror of those dark and intrusive sounds. Was it all just a dream? Have we been truly lying to ourselves subconsciously we will truly never know till the day beckons?


I have now reached the Reign A.D. side and having not heard this act before, I don’t know why. I am ready to press play and deep dive into how this mysterious golden cloaked figure works. Will the spires on his golden-like crown yield them in a god-like light? Or does this king have other intentions? And do those shiny spires upon his head represent the horns of the damned one? We shall soon find out.


Reign A.D. … And They Will Reign Forever and Ever.. is a short track at just one minute and forty-six seconds starting with an almost primitive drum roll with almost techno/ house music element driven by the guitars picking out eerie tones and filling the ears with a discordant sound to them. The vocals almost represent that of the snake depicted on the cover wrapping his way around Christ. Is this a musical representation of the temptation of Christ? I get those vibes just from the vocal delivery. The music starts to soar and the vocals climb from a whisper to a slightly more poisonous and evil range whilst still retaining that sinister and devious whisper.

There is a wonderful mix on this track it’s almost like listening to a more modern take on the Cure’s “A Forest” There is a chilling goth vibe to this. It summons all kinds of eighties references from the likes of Fields of Nephilim, Bauhaus to even Sisters of Mercy. There is that beautiful spin on this creating a fondness and beautiful nods to those that came before them incorporating both modern sounds and those of years gone past.


Reign A.D. “A Shadow Flickers Over Head” takes their first track and almost flips what we thought we knew of this act and brings in just a sheer difference in sound. It opens with a very technical death metal-sounding opening complete with a very rasping growl from our cloaked mysterious entity. As the track descends further into its foray of sound it shifts into a more polished B.M. sound the vocals are both viscous and delivered with sheer ferocity.

The guitars race through my skull at blistering speed with some stunning frozen tremolo sections. But then the keys come in delivering an almost Dungeon synth/ symphonic black metal sound. I have to say they like to cover all bases this band and they blend all the genres seamlessly.

It dips from raw B.M. to symphonic sounds to that of an almost hard-core sounding band. Dropping these little highlights throughout this track takes you through some amazing musical sequences and leaves you nothing short of breathlessness. As I play this back multiple times my skull seems almost jaded at the genres they have dropped so far. To call these tracks so far multifaceted would be an understatement of the century.


Reign A.D. “The Vipers Knot” has yet another change in pace and tone. The B.M. influence is clear on this track and it certainly shows. Much slower in its opening the vocal range is just stunning and the track could almost be seen as an amazing nod to that of Marduk. Some of their slower tracks carry similar values and the vocalist certainly delivers his vocals like that of Morgan of Marduk.

Those beautifully viscous and rasping vocals spat forth like the Venom of a serpent which certainly goes hand in hand with the track name. Some beautifully interwoven synth moments take this slow and yet full-sounding track and add an almost vampiric/ Dungeon twist on this track. Honestly, if there was an award for genre multi-blending on a track I would have to say this act certainly delivers it. Every verse heralds a new shift and another genre mixed. It’s such a smorgasbord of sound that it immerses you into a world painted for you with sound.


Reign A.D.’s “Silk and Shadows” brings you into a stunning intro the use of fake harmonics and reverb from the guitarists just adds a touch of a dreamlike feel, not before the rush of all the instruments coming in and those rasping viscous vocals. Again the mix of technical death and B.M. blend seamlessly. This is like listening to a blend of Meshuggah, Dimmu Borgir and Marduk on steroids. But it makes for such an incredible audio-visual sound.

The music paints you a picture. There is a sense of such powerful musicianship throughout all aided by first-rate production throughout. This act has just literally poured some of their finest influences into this. The track shifts from pace to pace. Shifting sonically between Symphonic B.M. to that of something like Alestorm or even Amon Amarth with either a sprinkling of Dimmu Borgir or even Satyricon to boot. Everything is delivered tightly.

The musicianship is just sheer outstanding. Everything is polished yet still with that element of pure raw and unrelenting B.M. passion. Honestly, the guitars and drumming are just something else on each track they don’t battle one another for supremacy they work harmoniously and lift one another to levels unknown.


Reign A.D.’s “Passing Through The River” is their closing track and it’s a calmer one, featuring clean vocals in its opening, and layered guitar effects creep through the building atmosphere. Little synth elements trickle through adding a majesty not before we spiral into the depths of darkness. The guitars turn from beautiful light floating harmonics to sheer brutality. On top, the drums hammer in with an imposing slow and deep beat. The guitars shred for just a mere minute before we return to the slower more harmonious sound. It is also here we hear the sound of the bass. The bass is played with such stunning talent. The low resonating tones deliver a calmness and almost lure you into a false sense of security. The vocals return to their clean almost spoken word style turning the track from its heavy brutalistic moments to that of an almost story. Not before almost all of this is ripped from you and we find ourselves being sucked into that dark and technical blackened sound. The guitars pick out parts and climb beautifully. Working in total harmony with one another reaching stunning crescendo together. The track slowly fades out on its opening chord structure and as I stop writing for just a brief moment I find it hard to even catch my breath.


As I sit against the cold stone wall of this makeshift castle I sit my skull sockets wide and if I had a Mandeville I’m pretty sure it would be on the floor right now. In my years of kicking about this dust bowl of a planet I’ve experienced many a split albums between two artists and nine times out of ten, you can bet your bottom dollar that the two artists that appear on it are very similar in their nature of sound and approach of their respected genres. But this… this has been a sheer tour de force of sound. On the one hand, you have the raw B.M. style mixed with electronics from The Oracle and on the flipside you have Reign A.D. who can just incorporate any genre into their side and just deliver you one of the most incredible genre-spanning splits ever created. Needless to say, I am one hundred percent blown away by both sides.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would hear something so multifaceted from both artists that it left me completely blindsided. This is a split of immense proportions and it delivers on every side. Does this have replayability and could I see myself going back to this in my ever-growing pile of vinyl? Without a doubt. This is astonishing on so many levels. I have to say I was a little concerned with there only being three tracks by The Oracle but with everything he packs into his tracks the sounds the intensity and even the emotions you can gather from listening to his music I feel three tracks was perfect. Listening to all three one after another just paints a landscape of sheer wonder and almost despair at the same time, the emotions that can be conveyed from his technical sounds are just something else and as for Reign A.D. consider this cat’s curiosity, no longer curious.

I am flawed by the musical prowess that has been displayed here. I will be doing a much-needed deep dive into this act and its incredible sound. As I light a cigarette and watch the smoke billow out of the window, I wonder what lies in wait when I leave this makeshift castle. As I gather up my parchment ink and tobacco I get ready to drift on home to the U.K. but I can tell you now I will be listening to this split again on my journey across Oceans wide.

Darkest Hails all. #foras #lordoftheshadows



Join Reign AD / The Oracle for a listening party over at the Repose Records Bandcamp Page

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