Sep 152020


(We present Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Berlin-based Ancst, which will be released on September 18th via Lifeforce Records and the band’s own label Yehonala tapes.)

Evolution is a strange thing. For the most part it’s such a glacially slow process that its effects are almost invisible, except in hindsight. Yet it’s also extremely unpredictable, sometimes progressing in random fits and starts, or even the occasional dramatic leap, in a manner that seems to defy understanding.

Musical evolution is no different. Different bands evolve at different rates, and in different ways, especially as new members – and new musical DNA – are introduced.

But, you know what they say, “the more things change, the more they stay the same”, because while Blackened Metallic Crust-Punk crew Ancst may have cycled through quite a few members over the years (with stalwart mainman Tom S. as the band’s constant linchpin) as well as a few different sounds (their alternate, drone-based material is also well worth a listen) their third album (which is something like their 20th release overall, not counting demos and compilations) finds their sound largely unchanged and their modus operandi – big riffs, big blastbeats, and even bigger vocals – still just as intense, and just as effective, as ever. Continue reading »

Sep 052020


For me, this past work-week was much like the one before (and the one before that, and the one before that), i.e., I had to devote so much time to the fucking day job that I couldn’t keep up with the usual flood of new metal, much less pull together any new-music round-ups. This morning I spent some time trying to catch up, at least a little, and from that exercise I picked the following nine new songs and videos.

I arranged things in a particular way — beginning with something that’s rousing, then going down into sadness (verging on despair) with a block of songs that happen to include clean singing, then beginning to pull out of that mood with reminders that not not everything is horrible (and with music that’s more extreme), and then concluding with something that ought to perk you up again.


Six months ago my Serbian friend Miloš pointed me to “Pjevanija prva” (“Cry of Yore”), the fantastic first song released by the Serbian band Gavranovi (a word that means “ravens”). I still know very little about the band, though now I know a bit more than I did then.

Gavranovi’s frontman is Nefas, who was the vocalist for the great black metal band The Stone for almost 20 years. A second member, Janković, who seems to be the principal instrumentalist, plays the gusle, a traditional horsehair-string instrument that dates back to the 9th century. And there are three more members, all of whom also perform vocals — Matković (who’s also credited as a guitarist), Sokolović, and Rančić. Continue reading »

Aug 162020


Here’s the second Part of today’s column about newly discovered black and blackish metal. If you’ve been following my observations about my vacation, I was waylaid in finishing this Part because the golfers returned.

Thankfully, they seemed none the worse for wear despite the heat (which turned out not to be quite as punishing as predicted), though they did give up after 14 holes. Thankfully, they told very few war stories, but did share some spectacular photos of mountain-and-forest vistas from the course (I’ve left one at the end of this column), and then we tucked into lunch and some mid-day whisky, and then I got back to this writing while they immediately began napping.

Anyway, that explains the odd timing of this post.

PATHWAY (Russia)

You may have noticed that I have a weakness for black metal that incorporates unusual instruments, whether it be woodwinds, brass, horsehair fiddles, or medieval lutes. And thus I was probably predisposed to like the music of the Russian horde Путь (Pathway), because the band incorporate the accordion into their distinctive rendering of atmospheric black metal. Continue reading »

Sep 162018


Unlike most of the music I chose for Part 1 of today’s collection, black metal isn’t the dominant ingredient in everything I’ve included in this second Part, though it always plays a role. I’ve segmented these five choices by design, with some connections I hear between the first two, and some different connections between the last two, and some HelCarpathian Black Metal in the middle.


Ulthar‘s 2016 debut demo made quite a vivid impression on me, which I likened to “the musical equivalent of rabid wolves in a feeding frenzy”. Of that demo I further wrote: “The focal core of Ulthar’s music is corrosive, distorted, head-ramming, d-beat crust, but they spread out from there, incorporating bestial death bellows and deranged shrieking along with massive, spine-shattering chugs, violent blackened riff swarms, and melodically dismal and alien slower passages”. Continue reading »

Feb 262018


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by the German genre-benders in Ancst, which will be released on March 2, 2018.)


There are certain albums which hit you hard immediately, with a violent, whiplash-inducing punch right to the face. Then there are albums which deliver a slower, deeper, longer-lasting burn.

But the best albums are the ones which manage to do both, smacking you upside the head and knocking you flat on your ass, while also leaving the sort of heavy bruising which guarantees you won’t be forgetting the experience any time soon.

Now Ghosts of the Timeless Void, the second album by German blackened ‘core-collective Ancst, is most definitely one of the former… but only time will tell if it’s also the latter. Continue reading »

Jan 062018


I had a very busy week, both on and off our site, so busy that I wasn’t able to cobble together a round-up of news and new music. However, I did try to keep abreast of what was coming out, and my list of intriguing tracks that appeared over just the last week is YUGE — so YUGE that I’m afraid I’ll have to resort to an OVERFLOWING STREAMS post on Monday, one in which I don’t do anything but just stitch together new music streams and release details without commentary.

But I decided I would do something for today as a head-start (in addition to working on a SHADES OF BLACK post for tomorrow), and here’s what I’ve done: I picked the latest recommendations from three of my NCS colleagues, and then added one of my own, which happens to be the latest new song premiere that I’ve listened to. But first, a news item…


A few days ago the administrator of Panopticon’s official Facebook page posted the artwork you see above, along with these few words: “Slip case cover for the new double album. the scars of man on the once nameless wilderness. Out in March on Bindrune Recordings in the USA and Nordvis in Europe. Art by Hanna Larsson of Sólfjall Design.” Continue reading »

Aug 302017


(Andy Synn wrote this review of the just-released split by the German bands Ancst and King Apathy.)

If you’ve been hanging around NCS for a while you’ll doubtless be familiar, at least in passing, with the names Ancst and King Apathy.

Both are part of a loose-knit scene of Post/Black/Hardcore influenced Metal bands operating in and around Northern Germany, and both have been featured on this little blog of ours several times before, the most recent of which was my review of the latest Ancst EP, Furnace.

However, on the off chance that you don’t recognise the latter name perhaps it’s worth me pointing out that, until very recently, King Apathy were actually called Thränenkind, and released two albums under this particular moniker, the most recent of which (reviewed here) was itself called King Apathy.


Don’t be. All you really need to know is that both bands make some intensely emotional, and emotionally intense, music, and that they’ve now teamed up for a split EP. Continue reading »

Feb 222017


(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. Continue reading »

Apr 152016



(Here we have Andy Synn’s review of the first full album by Germany’s Ancst.)

If the name Ancst is unfamiliar to you, don’t feel too bad about it. Though we have featured them on NCS before now, Moloch is the band’s first “proper” album release, following a lengthy and varied series of EPs, singles, splits, and compilations, which have, over the years, allowed the band to showcase their ever-evolving blend of Black Metal, Punk, Hardcore, and Drone.

What this means of course is that even those already familiar with the band and their “anti-fascist, anti-sexist, anti-religion, DIY” ethos might not know exactly what to expect from the German collective this time around, such is their history of criss-crossing and cross-pollinating genres with almost reckless abandon.

Well, you need wonder no more, because Moloch is one hell of an incendiary blast of utterly ferocious punk-edged Black Metal. Continue reading »

Oct 142014


(New Zealand-based metal writer and broadcaster Craig Hayes rejoins us with the following very thoughtful and interesting interview of members of Germany’s Ancst.)

German crust collective Ancst was born from hardcore and black metal colliding at 666mph. Biting socio-political commentary forms a big chunk of Ancst’s anarchic aesthetic, and like fellow metallic punks charged with the idea that society desperately needs to change its direction, the band channels its frustrations with the world at large through a sound that’s hot-tempered and savage.

Ancst recently released its In Turmoil compilation, which collected remastered EP, split, and demos tracks, and the band’s raw mix of caustic crust and fierce tremolo-screeds has resulted in Ancst’s profile steadily rising outside of Germany’s borders. Ancst vocalist Torsten and multi-instrumentalist Tom took some time out from gearing up for a German tour to answer a few questions for No Clean Singing. They talk about the band’s beginnings, their clear-cut and rabble-rousing political stance, and what’s in store for the future.


Let’s start right back at the beginning. Was there a moment in time that inspired you both to step from being fans of music to people driven to create?

Torsten: Listening to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”, and then watching his epic “Thriller” video, when I was six years old. Years later, I was deeply moved by Adrenaline by the Deftones—and my love for that band is ongoing. For me, creating music is just another element I use to express myself, within a DIY context.

Tom: To be honest, I can’t really remember. Music has always played an important role in my family and I started playing in bands really early, but they weren’t heavy bands. I couldn’t find people to play extreme stuff with, and so I ended up in shitty alternative and indie bands at first. Years later, I met like-minded people when I moved to the city. But, if there is any band that opened up my eyes to the world of extreme music, it’s Napalm Death. Particularly their Inside the Torn Apart album. Continue reading »