A strange one, this, but that’s not to say that Hispanic melodeath contenders Ancient Settlers aren’t an interesting prospect overall.

As the melodeath tag suggests, this is a band well-versed in the Gothenburg Bible; guitars are set to stun rather than bludgeon to death, and are polished to a high sheen that at times verges on the toothless. However that’s not to say there is no merit to the band’s method, and tracks like the album’s title song are indeed more interesting than the host of other wannabes labouring under the melodeath banner.

Singer Argen Death has an interesting, almost poppy clean vocal style that actually works well with the band in it’s more accessible frames of mind. Again, Oblivion’s Legacy – the track – bears closer inspection here, as Argen expands her style beyond the blast furnace with positive, interesting results.

Stardust Legacy might prompt a few remembrances of the mighty Jill Janus with it’s mixture of the extreme and more traditional tropes, and again it’s here that the band’s willingness to explore into less straightforward musical territories that scores them points. There are moments of genuinely inventive songwriting at play here, and I hope the band expands more in this style moving forward – even when they dip into an eighties-style sheen musically if not vocally, as they do on the wildly schizophrenic Subversive

Of the more straightforward material, Wounded Heart scores points for commitment if nothing else, and you have to credit the sharp production that brings the song together nicely. As a staging point for the flights of fancy that occur elsewhere, the more mundane tracks serve a purpose, and of course you need a peg to hang your coat on of some sort, but there’s so much of interest bubbling under the surface with this band that the frustrating reliance on the tried and trusted when the untried and exciting lurks so obviously within does become a bit of a sticking point.

Like I said, a strange one – but strange isn’t necessarily bad, and there’s a fascinating edge to Ancient Settlers that I’m looking forward to exploring as the band matures.

Oblivion’s Legacy Releases on May 17th.