In one of my early reviews somebody suggested I listen to Apotheosis Farthest from the Sun. So, when the opportunity presented itself I plucked this CD out of the corner of one obscure record store.
Apotheosis is a one-man band (I have had a few of these in my player lately, it seems). Sauron, the man behind Apotheosis is from Malta of all places. Quickly, how many metal bands from Malta can you name? One-man band, from a “non-traditional” metal country … I was a tad skeptical. What Apotheosis had going for it was the fact that this debut was released on Nocturnal Art Productions, the label run by Emperor’s Samoth. And who else would know Black Metal better?
As it is the case with bands/projects like this the ability of the creator to present all of the ideas in a digestible fashion, not overlay tracks to the point of noise and have the best production possible determines the success. The whole album is over 50 min long, but it only has 4 tracks, so you can imagine that there is a variety of ideas presented.
The first track, Victory, is almost 7 min long electronic and symphonic intro. I guess I would have preferred for it be a bit more orchestral, while Sauron went for more ambient sound. Nice, but you kind of hold your breath, waiting for the real show to start. And 7 min is a long time to hold your breath.
The Maimed God rushes in with a force of chaotic fury. Yes, now I know why this is on Nocturnal Art. Chaotic, multilayered and altogether listenable – this belongs in symphonic black metal category. Sometimes things get downright thrashy, and if there was no keyboards, or the vocals would not be so hysterical, this would remind me of early Immortal or Dimmu Borgir. The latter, early Limbonic Art and of course, the mighty Emperor are big influences on Apotheosis. Mid-song the black metal structures fade, and forest-like ambience creeps in again with flute, whistles and keyboard arrangements. The end of the song is one vast cosmic ocean.
Raise the Dragon Banner is the most aggressive tune on the album. I’d have to guess and say that Sauron uses computer for a drum machine (I am sorry if he himself laid the drum tracks), but this is possibly the most clever use of the device I have witnessed. Drums sound almost human, fast and frantic. Thrashy guitar riffs and same hysterical vocals ride atop of minor keys to create the feeling of horror. The song slows down somewhat in tempo, but not in intensity, only to crash 5 min before its end into dribbling keyboards and female ah-ohs.
Kingdom is an entirely instrumental track and mixes equal parts of symphonic orchestral approach, acoustic “traveler by the forest fire” melodies and pompous layered keyboards a-la Cradle of Filth (sans Dani’s voice which always distracts from the music). Guitar is given a lead or two and in one spot I have noticed some bass loops thrown in (real players would have enriched the sound tremendously, though). One portion had melody borrowed from a Gypsy folk song or Hungarian national chardash dance. The end of Kingdom is very similar to The Maimed God with its ocean waves coming ashore.
I’d say that being skeptical as I was, Apotheosis provided an interesting listening experience. It wouldn’t win an Album of the Month award, and it takes a while to agree with all the transitions taking place between various song parts. Fully instrumental parts are the strength, and maybe Sauron should look into getting himself a vocalist (sort of like what Samael does), but more bandmembers would not hurt either. He could still keep all of the songwriting to himself. Nevertheless, I can see how he persevered and went from an unlistenable demos to Farthest from the Sun, a promising debut. Time will tell on what the future will hold for Apotheosis.
Killing Songs :
First part of Raise the Dragon Banner and Kingdom
|Alex quoted 69 / 100|
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