Review: ANCST – Moloch

ANCST is a Berlin-based blackened crust quintet. For five years, this DIY collective has contributed to a handful of splits and they’ve also crafted a few LPs. They even compose dark ambient. Blackened crust is a visceral collision of black metal and crust punk. You get familiar traits from each: tremolo riffs play over black metal blast beats and hardcore punk drums roll behind shrieks of social ills. The genres shapeshift with ease since each possess a unique abrasiveness. Shrill riffs from black metal generate a dissonant ambience and crust slathers together a brick wall of noise. ANCST’s Moloch infuses melody and some shoegaze elements for a unique spin on blackened crust.

“Moloch” drops you knee deep in shit. No sound samples or ambience are here to set the mood. In two seconds, rasping vocals sucker punch your gut. Lyrics volley between the two vocalists. As one runs out of breath, the other is there to maintain the intensity. The gaze-like tremolo riff shimmers with an aura of anxious melancholy, but it sings of solitude and misery. This ethereal tone pours from the record’s first six cuts. “The Skies Of Our Infancy” opens with traditional black metal blasts, but is elevated by a bouncing, almost poetic bass. It harmonizes well with the vocals and bears weight upon the lyrics. The track ponders times past and weeps with abandonment of those we thought we loved, achieving a compelling emotional contrast with the instrumentation. It’s Moloch’s finest example of creating harsh, uplifting atmosphere.

“Turning Point” is where Moloch pivots. For the most part, this and subsequent tracks opt for a sinister tone. The drums are relentless and the riffs, nasty. By this point, though, it drags on the album. The vocals seldom shift above or below their hoarse, homogeneous cries. The melodic textures are mostly discarded, corroding the atmosphere created by the front side of Moloch. Regardless, ANCST compose a delectable sliver of blackened crust. It’s one that finds hope amid a world bleeding to death.


Listen to Moloch above; purchase the record here.

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