REVIEW: ANCST 'In Turmoil' (Compilation)

My thoughts on the strangely melancholy anthems of ANCST were initially mixed. At first, with the opening track 'Ascetic', I was under the impression that perhaps ANCST was taking cues from the notorious 'Black-gaze' masterminds of DEAFHEAVEN (which there isn't anything wrong with that at all). Though, by the time the final track 'Peripheral' graced me with its wonderful 'The Dark Knight' opening - I wasn't so sure what I'd just heard.

Yes, there is definitely a good bit of Black-gaze on 'In Turmoil'. The band really doesn't attempt to hide its roots in anyway and instead opts to allow the entire Compilation -rather than just a song- progress into something completely different. This allows the bitter-sweet semi-angry tunes of ANCST to act as a single entity rather than every song being a overblown melancholy epic as is the case with nearly all Blackgaze bands. By the time the album ends you feel like a genuine transformation has happened somewhere within the music. Though this also means that tracks vastly differentiate at times - making some tracks feel a little bit like filler while some are masterful exercises in emotion and extremity. Prime example being that the aforementioned 'Peripheral', though a good song, feels more like something you'd hear from the (now defunct) CROWPATH rather then then carrying on the Black-gaze influence of previous tracks. Though there isn't really too much wrong with this, considering that the entire package is simply a cleverly assembled Compilation, I do feel like the progression was a little too obvious in the end.

Simply put, despite this being a handful of wayward tracks and demos, I feel like 'in Turmoil' almost acts like its an actual album rather than what it actually is. I love its Black-gaze inclusions and even the most Crust/hardcore elements. Somehow, what is here is entirely fantastic and somewhat epic in execution. If your looking for a more-varied (and more angry) cousin to bands like DEAFHEAVEN, RITUALS, and even something along the lines of LOCKTENDER - I'd definitely suggest adding ANCST's 'In Turmoil' to your collection.

-Keith J Ham-