Ancient Warfare were once the girls who smoked behind the high school gym. They were from distant shores; they spoke in code. They borrowed your Velvets records and talked about bands you wanted to know. They weren’t going to stay too long. They buried themselves in drones of words and found guitars, mapping an intimate apocalypse along the way.
Based in Lexington, KY, with roots in both Savannah, GA and the California coast, Ancient Warfare are currently promoting their Summer 2015 Alias Records release, The Pale Horse. Since 2011, they have developed a fierce reputation for hard work and dynamic performance, sharing stages with artists such as Raveonettes, Richard Buckner, The War on Drugs, Chelsea Wolfe, Scout Niblett, Mr. Gnome, Lucius. Ancient Warfare’s live show ebbs and flows from hushed harmony vocals to austere, tube-driven waves of sound.
In the winter of 2010, lead singer/guitarist Echo Wilcox approached Duane Lundy of Shangri-La Productions with a compilation of loosely established songs. At the time a student of photography and motion graphics at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Wilcox's composition process was heavily informed by translating traditional visuals into conceptual soundscapes. Lundy, a long-time friend and collaborator, remained producer/engineer of the project as Wilcox fleshed out her original pieces into a wholly realized full length album. Over the following years, the studio became home and haven to the various permutations of Ancient Warfare.
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 (Chico Fellini, Jim James, and solo work), classically trained violinist Rachael Yanarella (Oh My Me), and recently recruited bassist Derek Rhineheimer (Oh My Me). Ensconced in a place of dynamic artistry, Wilcox and her band-mates were 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; expansive skies versus one small soul, our eternal quest for answers versus a relieved embrace of cyclical, unavoidable truths. Wilcox's yearning vocals fluctuate in kind, emitted sometimes as a howl as on "Dreamcatcher Bull", 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...