The Order of Apollyon
posted on 3/2011 By:
I always raise an eyebrow at the appearance of collaborations between well-established musicians who come together to form new projects, especially since about seven out of ten times there’s nothing remarkable about them. The Damned Things comes to mind, as does Mick Kenney’s rather awful Suffer Well, along with Vinnie Paul’s Hellyeah, yet The Order Of Apollyon surprised me with The Flesh, which is an occasionally tumultuous affair that unabashedly steps on the lines between death and black metal like so many other projects these days. In this instance, however, their Listenable debut is anything but tired or hackneyed, and I’d have to credit this band for being one of the stronger new acts I’ve heard recently.
Comprised of vocalist/guitarist B.S.T. (Aborted/Balrog/Aosoth), drummer Daniel Wilding (Trigger The Bloodshed/Aborted), bassist Peter Benjamin (Akercocke/Pantheist), and guitarist James Mcllroy (Cradle Of Filth), The Order Of Apollyon sounds pretty much what you’d expect a band with this sort of pedigree to sound like, and even better, without an exorbitant amount of claptrap filler to deal with. Relentlessly sharp, and often quite heavy in the thrashier sense, this disc is filled with extremely effective riff and drum patterns that stretch outside the normal boundaries into pure metal. “Lich Bin Das Licht” gives a clear indication of what to look forward to with tightly-picked riffs, vocals in various modes of rasp, and an interestingly intricate and nuanced drumming exhibition. It’s fairly obvious within a few tracks just how smart these guys are as far as structure, and the emphasis of songwriting over an overt blastbeaten assault is a serious virtue.
While it seems like you can’t turn around without bumping into an old-school DM throwback these days, in all fairness, I’ve also noticed a resurgence in groups influenced by Morbid Angel, more aggressive thrash, and modern straight-ahead metal, and The Order... is one of them. They surely display their influences, but also do their best to put their own stamp on things. B.S.T. changes up his vocals from time to time, from a growled sort of speech to guttural roars to parched howls that resemble in a roundabout way those usually exclusive to German black metal bands. There’s never a lack of firepower to be heard, but I admire their refusal to adhere to a specific signature genre, instead managing to make their sound their own with a thorough mix of each of the individual musicians' aesthetics, and the blend is appetizing more often than not.
“Never “ is a standout due to the deliberate pacing and cool vocal layering that reminded me of the better Zyklon moments, and the tight-as-a-clam musicianship is evident as the rampaging stomp of “Four Beasts” mixes the heftiest of grooves along with the recurring San Francisco thrash slowdown riff and frantic blastbeats. “Flesh Of Yhvh” lays out of the most wicked, entrancing leads on the album, cleaving its way from a pure death metal onslaught seamlessly into “Ex-Voto” and its dense yet entirely porous atmosphere, which in turn sets up the balls-to-the-wall closer “L’Orgueuil” in all its gang-shouted, massive-riffed glory. The Flesh benefits from a very good, if not slightly tame, production job, and it's laid out very well as far as keeping a flow which maintains interest by way of a respectable amount of fetching variety.
You can really hear a little bit of every other band these guys have been involved in, and that’s really not such a bad thing here. If you enjoyed Svart Crown’s Witnessing The Fall, or the staunch new Belphegor release, then I believe The Flesh will also make for a proper fix for those who seek a genuine article that breaks no boundaries but also does everything absolutely right.
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