Apostle of Solitude
Embraced By The Black
posted on 3/2007 By:
After a handful of reviews for mostly less than stellar albums, my new year finally gets a jump start from an independent 2006 release from Indy upstarts Apostle of Solitude. The band features ex-The Gates of Slumber skinsman Chuck Brown, who moves to the front of the stage to contribute guitar and vocals. The mention of TGOS alone may be enough to grab the attention of doom aficionados, as that band is currently getting some well deserved accolades from the underground. If that don’t set the hook, it may help for me to mention that Apostle of Solitude should be appealing to fans of another band that’s generating a lot of excitement (both from their new album as well as reissued early efforts), the mighty Solitude Aeturnus, along with progenitors like Sabbath and Candlemass. This is doom metal, folks. Both words apply, and as much as Apostle’s sound appeals from a doom-minded perspective, their unequivocally pure metal bloodlines will surely resonate with what listeners love about true heavy metal.
The three tracks that make up this twenty-five minute EP are a balance of classic soulful, tantalizing slow doom and comfortable midtempo head-bobbing heaviness. Brown’s voice also effectively straddles the line between pained expressiveness and metal heft. Drop the needle on Embraced By the Black, and you might hear the band lay down a riff in the key of Iommi (the beginning of "Life Like Quicksand"), but the middle break of album opener "Last Tears" wouldn’t sound out of place on the first couple Iron Maiden albums.
The lead track is the shortest and the most consistently midtempo of the three–although even it makes an eventual foray into slower territory--and its fuzzy, muted riffing and cymbal-punishing drum work get the head banging quite nicely. "Curse of a Gift" and "Life Like Quicksand" are longer and more complex, somber, doom-rich compositions that flow well and benefit from honest and well designed contributions from each member. There’s a good deal of lead work on these songs, courtesy of Brown and Justin Avery, but it all furthers the songs without becoming the least bit flashy or self indulgent. Corey Webb’s drumming boasts a good variety of fills and variations, and along with Brent Mclellan’s sure-handed, functional bass establishes a formidable backbone with frequent well placed flourishes that add to the songs’ tension and weighty builds. There’s no shortage of evidence, but the climax of the closing track is especially effective at building from a sorrowful gait to a raucous, fist pumping crescendo.
The production is quite listenable, but this is an independent product and you’ll recognize that. But if Apostle of Solitude is seeking a label deal, then it’s certainly only a matter of time for them. This is classy stuff from a band you’re sure to hear more about. All three songs are available for streaming and once you’re duly impressed, you can pick up the album up for a measly five bucks.
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