(Andy Synn wrote this review of the new EP by Ancst from Berlin.)
Seeing as how I selected Moloch by Ancst as one of my Personal Top Ten Albums of 2016, it only makes sense that I be the one to cover their brand new EP, Furnace.
Of course, it’s not like the band have been idle in the intervening period between the release of Moloch (March 25th, 2016) and Furnace (February 19th, 2017), having also provided a track (“Arctic Waste”) for a four-way split last April, as well as delivering another extended instrumental EP in the form of October’s Stormcaster.
It’s simply that, as endlessly prolific as the band are, some of their releases stand out more than others.
And Furnace is one of them.
The six tracks on this EP (well, five, plus a relatively throwaway intro-piece) find the German quintet still on tip-top form, but also placing a greater emphasis on bleak melody than ever before… all without losing an ounce of intensity or integrity in the process.
First track proper “Urban Tomb” is a definite highlight, liberally laced with smooth-burning tremolo riffs and searing melodies, all absolutely chilled to perfection, and while “Chronicles of Emptiness” beings a touch of core-esque chugging back into the mix, this only serves to enhance, rather than undercut, the song’s blistering post-Dissection vibe.
“Broken Oath” takes things in a much grimmer, darker direction, erring towards Blackened Death Metal in places, delivering a veritable armada of dense, crashing chords, hammering riffs, and blunt, brute-force blastbeats, while “In Stone” marries the charred and ‘core-encrusted sound the band perfected on Moloch to some surprisingly sombre, almost doomy vibes.
The biggest surprise is saved for last though, as the introduction to the EP’s final track, “Cadence”, not only features some moody keyboard embellishments, but also some satisfyingly melancholy twin-lead work as an added bonus, setting the stage nicely for the song’s subsequent array of frantic blasts, scorched-earth riffage, and throat-scarring vocals.
If there’s one downside to this EP it’s that its brief length (which, even if you include the introductory strains of “”Away from Atrophy”, only just breaks the 22-minute mark) might not be enough to truly satisfy those craving something more substantial to really sink their teeth into.
But, them’s the breaks, and 22 minutes of new Ancst is nothing to be sniffed at, even if it has left this writer absolutely ravenous for more.
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Something about 2 vocalists, 3 guitarists, and no drummer just seems strange. Especially in a live setting. With that said, certainly not a bad record.