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Morast : Ancestral Void

The debut full-length from Morast is stark, brutal no-nonsense Death/Doom with real depth and substance.

'Ancestral Void' sees Germany's Morast follow up last year's well received demo with their first full length album. Interestingly, it's a release that contains an element of intrigue given that in the album's sleeve notes, on the Morast Facebook and Bandcamp pages, and even in the promotional material issued to Doom-metal.com for this review, the band members are referred to only by an initial. Vocals, for instance, are provided by the enigmatic 'F'. A hint of mystery is certainly a rare thing in our social media saturated times, so it's refreshing to see a more shadowy approach from a band releasing their debut.

The album artwork, too, gives little away; stark, monochrome imagery adorns the cover, whilst the song titles themselves are, with the exception of the title track, all one word long. Laconic, brutal, and straight to the point. And when opening track, 'Crescent' begins to assault your speakers, it's less a case of going straight to the point, and more one of going straight to the jugular with a ferocious Death-Doom attack. No preamble, no slow malevolent build up, just a breathless, 100mph burst of furious anger and bitterness. Lyrically, 'Crescent' is as black and despairing as the album cover promises; an ode to the night, the darkness. 'The splendour of the dark sky/caress a part of me' urges the mysterious F in a harsh, guttural tone laced with misery.

Lyrically, the whole of 'Ancestral Void' is as dark as it gets, dealing with some pretty heavy emotional stuff with brutal honesty and intensity. 'Forlorn', as the title suggests, is a melancholy lament to a life of hopelessness and solitude with F's snarled promise that he'll 'build a labyrinth with walls of stone/to isolate myself again', it's an emotive and powerful slab of Death-Doom that will resonate with many listeners. Who, especially amongst we Doom fans, hasn't wanted to do just that at some point in their life, or even, at least metaphorically, actually done it?

As harsh as the vocal is, it's not always easy to make out every lyric, and so such gems can be hidden amongst the monolithic riffs and the brutal delivery of the words, but the songwriting prowess of F yes, our enigmatic friend F wrote all lyrics on the album - ensures that 'Ancestral Void' is an album that rewards further listening. There's a lot going on here both musically and lyrically, and one gets something more from it with every listen. Perhaps at no point more so than the fearsome punch to the gut that is 'Compulsion', a brutally honest and troubling examination of the horror of addiction and the self-loathing that can accompany surrendering to it. With a mellow beginning that morphs into a bruising Doom riff with shades of Post-Metal, it's the black, broken heart of the album.

'Ancestral Void' is stark, brutal no-nonsense Death-Doom with real depth and substance, and certainly a debut to remember. Morast may not want us to know their names, but they bared their dark, sorrowful souls to us in an eloquent and accomplished album that will get under your skin and stay there long after the CD stops spinning.

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Reviewer's rating: 8.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Crescent
2. Forlorn
3. Ancestral Void
4. Loss
5. Compulsion
6. Sakkryfyced

Duration : Approx. 36 minutes

Visit the Morast bandpage.

Reviewed on 2017-06-11 by Nick Harkins
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