REVIEW: Ancst - Ghosts of the Timeless Void

Way back, I had the chance to review Ancst's Compilation 'In Turmoil' and, though Direnotes was certainly in it's infancy then, I clearly remember Ancst having a vastly different sound. In fact, I believe I even compared it to black metal and blackgaze. Now, certainly there are some faint hints of that between the fine lines here, but maybe I just didn't know what I was talking about back then - because Ancst is clearly under the Hardcore umbrella. Hell, I wouldn't even go so far as to consider them blackened now.

It's not exactly for the worst, in my opinion. With Ghosts of the Timeless Void, the band has certainly become far more cohesive. Yes, it's Hardcore, but it isn't like a lot of the more spastic and schizophrenic stuff that resides within that subgenre. Instead, Ancst has a lot of melodic moments, a bit of black metal in the composition, but generally things are more digestible and understandable. It's far easier to sit down and listen to this album as a whole then even their earlier work. It does lend to more then a few typical moments -breakdowns, relentless yet never changing vocals, similar tones for almost all the tracks- but it ultimately makes for a far more enjoyable record.

For hardcore, Ghosts of the Timeless Void really feels laid back. Transitions are great, and the more melodic composition gives the whole album a flow I can appreciate. It's almost a beast unto it's own at times, ditching a lot of the repetition encountered with other records. Outside of the vocal work, I've noticed a bevy of black and death metal undertones. Tremolo picking is here and very welcome in this environment. Chuggy death metal goodness has definitely found itself somewhere in the basis of this record, rather then the typical shrieky and metallic hardcore soundscape. Not so surprisingly it reminds me of later BLEEDING THROUGH, as they were metalcore but had a lot of black and punk metal stylistics going on.

Of course, Ghosts of the Timeless Void makes some bold claims of a social political message – but I'm not too sure how well that works. It certainly sounds angry, the whole album has it's own flavor of bite, but I feel like it's themes are applicable to a general situation of political corruption rather then all the insanity that has been going on lately in the world. Perhaps this is due to the band being in Berlin and having problems of it's own, while I'm in North America expecting something dealing with certain Presidential figures as of late, but I feel like sometimes subjects such as this require a higher degree of extremity in the music to properly express such a message as political corruption and 'waking' people. Again, it doesn't really make the album bad. And, as someone who listens to some very extreme bands on the daily – it might be that I'm more used to a extreme presentation when it comes to content.

Ghosts of the Timeless Void isn't going to bash you over the head with it's beliefs, but maybe that is a good thing. Ancst has certainly come a long way since I last encountered their work, and a cleaner more direct sound feels far more the product of experience and learning over time. Its a good year for protest, and Ancst may just have the anthem people are looking to get behind.

-KEITH, THE ODD-

Keep up with Ancst on their website, and or their label Lifeforce Records.