Review by Vard Aman
Anckora formed in Moscow in 2006, initially as a more standard Symphonic Metal band before morphing into the Industrial Metal sound they have now. They released a demo in 2007 and a couple of EPs in 2010 before releasing their debut album “Машина” in 2011. That’s pronounced “Mashina”, which means “Machine” in the context of this album (rather than “Car”, which is its most common use in Russia). They followed this up with their second album “Открой Мне Дверь” in 2013 (“Otkroy Mne Dver”, which roughly translates as open the door for me). Now they have a new EP out, “Экстрим” ( “Extreme”).
And, yes, it is pretty extreme! Anckora have mastered a harsh and heavy Cyber/Industrial Metal sound, greatly emphasized by Katrin Antares‘s rasping, snarling vocals; heavy Rammstein-eque guitars; and driving rhythms. Actually, “Экстрим” is mostly about extreme sports – for example “Выше” is about skydiving and “В Темноте” is about caving (aka spelunking) – but the title is rather apt for the music itself too. Most of the songs on “Экстрим” are reworked and re-recorded songs from earlier releases brought together to form a single concept EP. The lyrics are all in Russian, which is perfect for this kind of music being quite a harsh language (just as why Rammstein works so well in German, but not so well in English).
The power of the music may be instantly likable, but despite that some of the intricacies unique to Anckora‘s music might render it a bit of an acquired taste. Hardcore fans of heavy Cyber/Industrial Metal will be, or should be queuing up for this; but those who are not (yet) fans of this kind of music might want to ease into it first – kind of like Anckora themselves did. Furthermore, I found Katrin‘s rapped vocals extremely (pun unintended) annoying. I like it when she sings and growls and shouts, and that angry jaguar (the cat, not the car) like snarl is seriously awesome; but when she raps like she does in “В Темноте” and “Отрыв” I have an overwhelming urge to skip to the next track (which I couldn’t do because I had to review it, but certainly will the next time I listen to this EP). But that’s just me – if that is your kind of thing, then look no further.
I also suspect, given the nature of this music, that Anckora‘s live act is something more potent than anything they can put on to a CD. They certainly put a lot of effort into their shows, going by their live clips, incorporating lasers and fire. I suspect this band at their best needs to be experienced live and loud, with all their lights and visuals, up close and personal, where the music can be felt and seen as well as heard – Anckora in the extreme! In the meantime, you get the idea!
Rating – 80/100
- В Темноте
- Bluehole (Dahab, Egypt)
- Katrin Antares – Vocals, Keyboards, FX
- Vera RonnisLemuel – Vocals
- Maxim Exaeon – Guitars, Vocals
- Evgeniy JonPriest – Guitars, Vocals
- Anton Phoenix – Keyboards, Vocals
- Andrey Ectomorph – Bass, Vocals
- Maxim Lvov – Drums