In Dusk Apparition
posted on 6/2006 By:
If you’re anything like me, nothing makes you happier as a metalhead than to discover a new band or project that fits snuggly within your personal confines of ‘momentous heavy metal’. Well folks, up until a few weeks ago, I’d never heard the name Chuck Keller in my 20+ years of listening to metal, but thanks to a recommendation in our forums section recently, I’ve quickly come to learn Keller has been involved with three noteworthy bands from 1987 to 2006 that have now landed on my ‘I can’t believe I never heard any of this’ list – Order From Chaos (with Pete Helmkamp of Angel Corpse fame), Vulpecula (a duo with Chris Overton of Nepenthe), and the excellent Ares Kingdom (also featuring former O.F.C. members) – producing eight demos, eleven EP’s, and four full-lengths all ripe for the hunt.
After doing a bit of research and reading some old interviews with Keller, one can quickly see just how dedicated this man has been to bringing fresh, interesting material for metal fans to gobble up. Hailing from the relatively un-metal friendly town of Kansas City, Keller and crews have had to work incredibly hard to get their material heard by the metal masses outside the walls of Missouri. The relatively short-lived Vulpecula project, formed with the intention of melding death metal with ethereal ‘space’ elements, sadly only produced two demos and two EP’s before eventually fading from existence in the late 90s. Following the release of the Phoenix of Creation EP in ’96 and the Fons Immortalis EP in ’97, the duo seemed poised and ready to unleash a highly anticipated full-length upon the metal community. Unfortunately, due to a number of setbacks the full-length LP never saw the light of day. Fast forward 8 years later and we finally find Keller and the fine folks at Invictus Productions releasing Vulpecula’s final material. Written between ’97 and ’98, much of what’s found on In Dusk Apparition was slated for the ill-fated Down Amongst Them LP, and the wait has certainly proven to be worthwhile.
In Dusk Apparition effectively does exactly what Keller and Overton intended it to do; blend elements of old school, blackened death metal with ethereal space elements. The production definitely gives the record an old school demo feel, but not in a “this sounds like it was recorded in a bathroom” kinda way, but more because the music is fuckin’ raw as hell, yet completely unapologetic. This is primal, hypnotic, blackened death metal with ghastly, rasped vocals nearly whispered from the pitch black. Think Beherit if they’d been obsessed with the more plodding parts of early Destroyer 666, with intros and outros straight outta the Nova shows they’d show you in high school science class. The interesting thing is, despite the fact Vulpecula holds all the above-mentioned elements, In Dusk Apparition is actually quite the relaxing spin. The first two tracks, and last two tracks all hold true to the same formula; midpaced, rollicking tunes with a seriously opiate, yet epic feel in the core of Keller’s songwriting. Track two, “Celestial”, stands as a personal favorite, and features a repeating riff pattern throughout which immediately brought to mind early Borknagar material (2-minutes in). Also worthy of pointing out is the fantastic drum work laid down by Chris Overton. He rumbles his way through loads of rolls, fills, and flailings on each song, but instead of his busy efforts resulting in an added chaotic element, it actually ends up rooting the songs with a very organic feel.
The only weak point on this otherwise remarkable offering is the strangely placed track found smack dab in the center of In Dusk Apparition – a cover of Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom (Coming Home)”. While I understand how this song and its theme fits along with Vulpecula’s, the version is just a bit too loose and stands as more of a hindrance as opposed to an atmospheric enhancement to the mini-LP.
At this point it’s probably needless to say I quite enjoyed this long awaited release from Vulpecula. Despite the relatively odd cover tune, In Dusk Apparition is undoubtedly a rewarding adventure and highly recommended to any fan of the aforementioned bands. Seek, find, purchase and pitch tent.
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