Tom – vocals, all instruments
1. Kill Your Inner Cop
3. Final Hour
4. Praising the Realm of Loss
5. The Burden of Hope Part I
6. The Burden of Hope Part II
7. Razed Eden
8. Abysm of Existence
9. … of Dying
11. Monotony of Anguish
Ancst is a metal fusion outfit hailing from Berlin, Germany, set to release album number four, Summits Of Despondency on the 18th of September. Tom Schmidt is responsible for the lead vocal performance and playing all instruments on the record. The lyrics are delivered in a hardcore style, and a couple of the titles hint at the socio-political theme of the songs, with many tracks on the release also depicting personal struggles.
Front-runner ‘Kill Your Inner Cop’ expresses disdain for police brutality (especially prevalent at this moment in time,) describing officers as “baton-swinging robots”. Along with the overall sound and belligerent screams, the lyrical content of the song gives off a punk vibe, setting the mood for much of the record.
‘Inferno’ features soaring guitar work and some great drum fills which complement each other. Track three ’Final Hour’ is full of momentum-building moments, with some very enjoyable breakdowns and pace changes. A third of the way through, and ‘Praising the Realm of Loss’ makes use of gang shouts which offers some variation in the vocal department, along with the spoken word section.
The only instrumental on Summits Of Despondency ‘The Burden of Hope Part I’ provides a short detour from the screamed vocals, which nicely contrasts with the aggression exhibited on prior tracks. Track six swiftly follows and sees the return of Schmidt’s vocal assault. Melodic female vocals kick-off ‘Razed Eden,’ bringing a welcomed softer emotion to the listening experience and countering Tom’s voice to great effect.
Blast beats dominate ‘Abysm of Existence’ early on and throughout, similarly to ‘Final Hour’. This, combined with the changes in tempo and atmospheric ending displays Summits Of Despondency’s black metal influence. ‘… of Dying’ sees the rhythm section sounding more punk in nature, with speed being utilised here. The squeals and return of gang shouts add a lot of power to the lyrical delivery, really driving home the anguished mood.
With an energetic beginning, ‘Denazification’ evolves into a state of ambiance halfway through. It would have been interesting to hear the atmospheric break for more than a few seconds in the middle of the song. Penultimate number ‘Monotony of Anguish’ hosts the longest instrumental intro, a catchy series of notes that build momentum before the harsh vocals are re-introduced. As the track fades out, the last line is repeated twice in an almost anthem-like manner.
‘Monolith’ starts much like track seven, using the softer vocals to much better effect by featuring them mid-song and not just at the beginning. This brings an ambient feel to the final installment, bringing together some of the finer techniques from the previous eleven songs to an epic amalgamation of styles. All in all, a solid album from Ancst. Summits Of Despondency displays a uniquely engaging brand of blackened crust.