Summits of Despondency

Ancst, which is German for “angst (you probably knew that, smarty pants),” describe themselves as “blackened death metal,” “metallic hardcore fusion,” as well as “blackened hardcore.” Honestly, all of these descriptions absolutely nail it.

I have a little experience with these dudes (well, dude now), listening to and enjoy one of their previous albums Ghosts of the Timeless Void. I enjoyed it heavily, so I’m not quite sure why I never kept up with them or went back and listened to their previous catalog.

The new album, Summits of Despondency, begins with the track “Kill Your Inner Cop.” It’s a quick burst of what could accurately be described as “blackened hardcore,” so good job there, sir. The vocals are definitely of the hardcore variety. Along with the driving riffs and punk backbeat, it’s easy to see why this description is apt.

I wanted to note the production quickly after the first track. While it’s far from bad, it does tend to lack any power or dynamics throughout most of the runtime. Back to the music itself…

Track 4, which is called “Praising the Realm of Loss,” unlike most of the rest of the album, eases off the throttle for just a moment. It’s brief, but effective and the moments where this occurs throughout the record are the standouts.

The titles for tracks 5 and 6 are “The Burden of Hope Part I” and “The Burden of Hope Part II,” implying they are two parts of the same whole. In reality, the former is just an introduction to the second part. However, this is one of those moments mentioned above where they let off the gas a little bit. Part II, not so much, friend.

The next track, “Razed Eden,” is a little more subdued because of the female vocals at the beginning, which lasts for about a minute. Then, it’s into the vocals you expect. While this track is not too different from the rest, there’s a weeping guitar melody interspersed, appearing a few times, making the track stand out from the rest.

Along these same lines, the final track I want to mention is, well, the final track, “Monolith.” It opens with a bit slower of a pace, which is fitting as it’s one of the longer songs on the album. A little variety in the vocals could have really benefited this track as the hardcore vocals don’t do the pace justice.

Like an Ancsty teenager, I have some complaints (Do you see what I did? DO YOU?!). Firstly, as mentioned above, the vocals don’t really do it for me. In many places, variety in the vocals would have improved the compositions immensely. The production, also as mentioned above, while not offensive, is lacking in dynamics. These two items make Summits of Despondency an intriguing, yet not quite fulfilling listen. While I enjoy it in parts, I know I won’t be going back to it throughout the rest of the year.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
October 1st, 2020


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