On paper, a concept album about Polish cult painter Zdzisław Beksiński and how his paintings make you feel is an interesting and incredibly challenging idea.
Yet in practice, the execution comes across as lacking any vibrancy or cohesion. While Beksiński was a surrealist who spoke to the deeper, hidden aspects of the psyche, Ancress have evolved a sound that struggles to stay on message. Formed in 2014 with members from Vilipend and Titan, the Canadian project took on quite a large task for the debut, initially aiming for four EPs and instead presenting two sides here. Beginning on the promising A Mother’s Love, Ancress’s hardcore segues into darker territory and moments of intriguing melancholy that bears some quality of a Beksiński work, yet as we progress through Victoria/Jeiunium this aspect falls by the wayside and the record becomes strangely hard work. Experimentation isn’t always the key to success, and the record moves from delicate fear to anger and nowhere else. A shame.