Article by Lance Viggiano.
Ananku is random stereotypical sentimentality in terms of both pseudo climactic release and legacy nostalgia underscored by the crooning of its capricious composer. One may skip to any moment of this record and find a passable to competent riff which invites the listener to further explore its contents. Yet to sit through the work in succession, the order – or lack thereof- is much akin to a dreamlike state. Waking life is a comedic but rationally apprehensive continuity; whereas the experience of dreaming is much like thumbing through to one’s favorite moments in no particular order and therefore as a whole Ananku betrays its efforts at thematic unity. The forces behind Serpent Ascending make a noticed use of genre firmament however indecisive haste fashioned for itself a fallen world.
A prominent influence upon Serpent Ascending is the esteemed Varg Vikernes whose deliberate isolation from not only his civilization but also his musical peers – with respects to content, direction and political ideology – allowed Burzum to stretch metal towards ethereal serenity. Ananku does not possess the same longing spirit nor the will to illuminate corridors left hidden by the cultural landscape of its day. Thus, efforts to communicate this sentiment are trite and insincere such as on “Karelides” or the first half of the two part title cut. In fact, if one were to happen upon “Karelides”, its opening moments suggest some arc of progression but to actually listen to its predecessor reveals without pretense to the contrary that this is not the case. Likewise, the procession from “Ananku I” to ”Ananku II” is merely juxtaposed rather than continuous. Serpent Ascending will no doubt receive its due of year end accolades by the press; while the uprising of apologetics on the part of its transitory devotees in defense against this dissent will no doubt be quelled following whatever over-acclaimed entry is released in the final quarter of this year.
In summation, the content within is simply congruent with its cover art: a collage. Offering “Entrance” as an advance track was an intelligent decision as it is the composition most betrothed to a narrative and therefore could be termed as such. Still, as with the means by which the album closes, the song ends abruptly and irresolute. Those vocal and earnest loyalists will find this offering of tribute pleasurable until their souls invariably become disinterested with such a materialistic embodiment of music. The best that can be said about Ananku is that a familiarity with dissatisfactory and ephemeral art such as this leads one to the epiphenomenal goal of identification with the subtle and incommunicable spirit of metal. To do so is to achieve a liberation from the tyranny of incarnation after incarnation by renunciation of surface aesthetics masquerading under the illusion of high-brow sensibilities.