Ancient is a Norwegian black metal band from Bergen, formed in 1992. The band released six full-length albums released by Metal Blade Records to date and a variety of mini-albums, EPs and special releases. Ancient used to have the classic raw black metal sound, similar to Darkthrone's works. Beginning with The Cainian Chronicle, they moved towards a more Nordic/atmospheric black metal sound, akin to Emperor and a cleaner production. After a period of turmoil concerning their line-up, they went on to add gothic-style instruments such as violins, a female vocalist, and synthesizers to their music.
To this day Ancient can be considered as one of the original Norwegian black metal bands that were part of the now famous scene of the early nineties. They were one of the very first Norwegian black metal bands to sign for a semi-major label (Metal Blade Records). There is no evidence of any involvement of Ancient with the infamous occurrences of the Norwegian black metal scene, although they were part of the same scene. Ancient can be considered as a historical black metal act by all standards, whose path took a different course upon their relocation around the world and subsequent exit from the local Norwegian scene.
The band initially started out as a solo project of guitarist Aphazel in 1992. The following year, Grimm joined the band as drummer and vocalist. They released the Eerily Howling Winds demo in 1993 and the Det Glemte Riket EP in 1994. They subsequently signed to Listenable Records and released their debut album, Svartalvheim. After the release of the Trolltaar EP in 1995, Grimm left the band.
Aphazel later moved to the United States where he met Lord Kaiaphas of Virginia-based black metal band Grand Belial's Key, who soon became the new vocalist and drummer of Ancient. In 1996 the band signed a contract with Metal Blade Records (which led to sellout accusations), and two new members joined the band: Kimberly Goss as a female vocalist and keyboardist, and Kjetil as a drummer. Together, they recorded Ancient's second full-length album The Cainian Chronicle, and later embarked on a European tour.
In 1997, Goss was replaced by Erichte, Kjetil left the band, and a new guitarist/keyboardist entered Ancient under the name of Jesus Christ. With the new lineup, Ancient released their third album, Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends. After a world tour, Aphazel met Deadly Kristin, who became the new female vocalist, and he decided to move to Italy.
1998 brought more lineup changes: Krigse took over the drums, Dhilorz became the new bassist, and Lord Kaiaphas left the band. In 1999, The Halls of Eternity was released, with Aphazel as the new vocalist.
Upon the exit of Krigse, Ancient went on to find a replacement in the local metal scene. A new tour followed, including the band's first concerts in Scandinavia, and in 2000, Ancient played at Wacken Open Air main stage with the new drummer GroM who joined in May 2000. A compilation EP, God Loves the Dead, was released in January 2001, featuring some remixes, a new single and a cover of Iron Maiden's 'Powerslave' song.
Ancient's fifth album, Proxima Centauri, was recorded at Los Angered Recording (Andy LaRocque's studio) and mastered at Sterling Sound in New York. It was then released in October 2001. Another world tour followed, including Mexico, Eastern Europe and Israel. Ancient then proceeded to move closer to their classic black metal origins and began the writing of a new album as a 4-piece without female vocals.
In July 2004, Ancient released their sixth album, Night Visit. Written in drummer Grom's studio at the feet of the Italian Alps, the album was recorded at Studio Fredman and mixed by Swedish producer Fredrik Nordström. Following the release, the band embarked on another European tour called "A Night VisiTour" in 2005, with Illdisposed as co-headliners and Final Breath as support. After the tour, GroM left the band.
Aphazel and Deadly Kristin released an album with their side-project called 'Dreamlike Horror', for Greek label Sleaszy Rider Records in June 2005.
Live, the band featured Aleister of Faust (a cult Italian death metal band) on guitar and following Grom's departure, also featured Nick Barker (Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir...) on drums.
Ancient's original demos, including Eerily Howling Winds, were re-released in 2005 in an album called Eerily Howling Winds - The Antediluvian Tapes.
In 2009 and 2010 they reformed for a new set of live shows in Spain and Portugal with Nick Barker as drummer.
Metal Blade has since then released a three-CD pack containing the band's three releases before the final Night Visit album: The Halls of Eternity, God Loves the Dead and Proxima Centauri.
In 2011, band's lead singer Aphazel announced that he shortened his artist name to Zel and also announced plans for a new studio album. The album, Back to the Land of the Dead, is to be released sometime in 2016. In early 2016 the band recruited guitarist Ghiulz (Bulldozer) as session guitarist for live performances.Zel (formerly known as Aphazel) – guitar, keyboards (1992-present), lead vocals (1998-present), bass guitar (1992–1998), drum machine (1992–1993)
Dhilorz – bass guitar (1999-present)
Nick Barker - drums (2009-present)
Grimm – vocals and drums (1993–1995)
Kimberly Goss – female vocals (1995–1997), keyboards (1997)
Deadly Kristin (born Cristina Parascandolo; changed name to Hayam Nur as Sufi) – vocals and black arts (1998–2003)
Lord Kaiaphas – vocals (1995–1999), drums (1995–1998)
Kjetil – drums (1996–1997)
Erichte – female vocals (1997–1998)
Krigse – drums (1998–2000)
GroM - drums (2000–2005)
Luci – keyboards (since 1997), guitar (1997–1998, 2004-), bass guitar (1997–1998), piano, cello (1997–1998)
Baard – drums (1997)
Profana – drums (1998)
Thidra – guitars (2000–2001)
Andrea Trapasso – keyboards (2004)
Aleister – guitars (2001-present)
Neviah Luneville – vocals on "Envision the Beast" from Night Visit
Lady Omega – vocals on "Out in the Haunted Woods" from Night Visit
Moonbeam of Iblis – violin on "Envision the Beast" and "Night of the Stygian Souls" from Night Visit
Alex Azzali – additional guitars on "Night of the Stygian Souls" from Night Visit
Lazarus – keyboards (1998)
Scorpios – bass guitar (1998–1999)
The Cainian Chronicle (1996)
Mad Grandiose Bloodfiends (1997)
The Halls of Eternity (1999)
Proxima Centauri (2001)
Night Visit (2004)
Back to the Land of the Dead (2016)
Det Glemte Riket (1994)
Eerily Howling Winds (1993)
Det Glemte Riket (1999)
God Loves the Dead (2001)
Eerily Howling Winds - The Antediluvian Tapes (2005)