Formed in 1989 with the moniker of Abdominal Bleeding and stuck in the death metal genre,influenced by Cannibal Corpse,Morbid Angel and Pestilence,they changed their name to ‘Mangled’,a couple of demos and 3 full length albums followed before they disbanded in 2006, but thanks to Dutch label Victory Records and guitarist Erwin Hermsen,’Through Ancient Times has been remixed and remastered, Mangled have always been a bit different than some bands in this genre adding Doom elements to their sound (not a bad thing in my book). Opener ‘Raise My Fist In The Face Of God’ sees the band off in storming form, Hermsen and Gielen combining twin guitar attacks and Gutteral growls from Houwen, setting the pace for the rest of the album.
Track two is ‘Eve of Mourning’, with it’s synthesisers and down tuned guitars layered over furious beat, a catchy as f**k riff you can’t go wrong.
‘In Ancient Times comes as 3 part concept each track, with each one supposedly leading into the next, which is cool, if they all followed each other.
However they do not.
‘In Ancient Times I : De Christians is a dark,moody piece with a almost machine gun laden riff and for me the albums stand out track and this is where I should be talking about tracks two and three of this concept, but there are four songs between them and you find yourself thinking “what did part one sound like again?” ‘Bathe In Blood’ and ‘Era: Odium’ slowed to a almost grind, very ‘Morbid Angel’ influenced here and sometimes death metal sounds great like this, with every beat shaking you to the core.
The haunting and beautifully constructed instrumental Era should have been the albums opener, as it leads into ‘RMFITFOG’.
Goatrider is next up and Mangled hit their melodic side, both guitarists trading off each other before hitting us with a frenzied riff.
‘The Sleeping Paradise’ is in my view, nothing more than a filler that should ideally be the last track on this release, a sort of shall we put this on the album or not, with average vocals and poor production the song is only saved by some pummelling drum work by De Jonge. And finally on to ‘In Ancient Times II: Erotica’ and ‘In Ancient Times III : Bellum Gallicum’. Erotica is the more brutal of the two, Houwens blustering vocals matching Hermsen and Gielen’s axe work while III has a softer more acoustic feel to it with Houwen’s narrating rather than singing, however all hell breaks loose with him singing his gonads off.
Album closer is a bit of a hit n miss affair, high pitched screams then the band slow it down and in come the death grunts. All in all a fine album, the good bits certainly outweigh the bad, and as a 1st full length album it’s up there with ‘Eaten Back To Life’ by Cannibal Corpse.
01. Raise My Fist In The Face Of God
02. Eve Of Mourning
03. An Ancient Times I: De Christianis
04. Bathe In Blood
05. Era: Odium
07. The Sleeping Paradise
08. In Ancient Times II: Erotica
09. In Ancient Times III: Bellum Gallicum
Review by Cliff Scowen