Hands up those who want a spot of hardcore-infused black metal crust. Well, it’s perpetually gloomy outside so why not? “Ghosts of the Timeless Void” is Ancst’s second full album, supplemented by a number of Eps and split works over their six years of existence.

Rage shatters the gloom, as “Dying Embers” opens up with a furious black metal assault, complete with a curious Teutonic-Americanised spoken part. That was the hardcore part, I suppose. I do like the weighty melodies, which are reminiscent of any number of German death metal squadrons. The drumming is interesting and tricky, and it all goes forward in a brutal way. I’m not sure where the promised ambience or drone idea came from as this seemed to be more about black thrash metal than anything. Yes folks, this is bordering on Dew Scented reincarnated.

I enjoyed the energy of this album, but it was as if one thrash-athon led into the next without distinction. As a result I found I had got to the seventh track “Of Gallows and Pyres” without being able to pick anything out from the previous ones other than raw and honest thrash-type heavy metal offerings. The odd sample does not mark any sort of shift change. In fact just as I thought “Republic of Hatred” was going to take on a deeper edge, it reverts to type, brutality, roaring fury and all. Undoubtedly it’s good for headbanging but stimulation of the grey matter is not at its centre. Finally there’s a change of tempo with the moody “Dysthymia”, although I have to say that the growler’s whisperings don’t really lend themselves to this quasi-mystical battle fare. “Sanctity” had all the power, the triggering drums and a couple of good breaks, but whilst not exactly formulaic, did not burst out of its shell, “Self Portrait” even less so.

In summary, for me “Ghosts of the Timeless Void” had the energy and the power, but not the inspiration, sparkle or originality to endure in my head.

(6/10 Andrew Doherty)