Ballarat’s Ankl released a self-titled ep in 2016 that is surprisingly good, packed with some well-paced grooves and heavy-esque rock on the harder side of the spectrum. The ep opens with “Make Fast”, an interesting number that progresses nicely with some hints of various styles that the band is not afraid to experiment with, including a cool little thrash segment in the solo that I wasn’t completely sold on, but it seems to work enough. There are many layers shown throughout in just the opening track. Vocally, there are some good ideas at work to show one style is not enough. Followed by “Lost Days of Delysid”, you get the feeling these guys love it heavy as much as they love the stoner/prog groove, that while the track has some killer riffing, tends to get a little complex, and may lose some people on the journey, but I think most will appreciate the riffs these guys can churn out with ease.
“Index” opens with a blast, and then eases into a smooth verse pattern that holds a solid flow into some impressive drum patterns, complimented by quality rhythms from bass and guitar. These guys know how to hold a groove. The vocals work well enough, but there are opportunities to really open up, that tend to have been overlooked, whilst still remaining a solid track. Then things get real interesting on “Ate”, literally with an abrasive opening that smooths again into the staple verse pattern that seems to work for these guys, while the heavy parts are well placed throughout for one of the more standout moments on this ep. The track progresses and opens right up into some insanely good heaviness, before the solo takes over and flows like a river with some cool fret work. “Till Death Do Us Part” opens with all the right trimmings, as far as solid introductions to a track goes, and proceeds to rock with a very steady groove that sits in the ep mix as a standout single that makes Ankl a very likeable band.
The musicianship must once again be complimented, for these guys hold a tight groove and the vocals fit well on this track and people should get a kick out of this track, especially the explosive bridge that totally kicks ass. The final track, “The Push” ticks the boxes as the quintessential finale track with a calm push through the verse and nods to the production on this ep for some nice work on capturing the Ankl sound. The track progresses back into the heavy progressive territory that these guys are not afraid to dabble with and it works wonderfully well for them, as this track wraps up a quality effort as far as ep’s go. Definitely give this a go, as it’s awesome to hear something rockin’ hard out of Ballarat.